Global sanctions guide

  1. Does Australia have a sanctions regime in place?

Yes. Australian sanction laws are enacted by the federal parliament. They have broad jurisdictional application, extending to activities in Australia, and also to activities by Australian citizens and Australian-registered corporate bodies overseas.

  1. Does Australia implement UN sanctions?

Yes. UN sanctions regimes are primarily implemented under the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 (the “United Nations Act”) and its set of corresponding regulations. There is a separate set of regulations under the United Nations Act for each UN sanctions regime.

  1. Does Australia implement an autonomous sanctions regime?

Yes. Australian autonomous sanctions regimes are primarily implemented under the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 and the corresponding Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011.

  1. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Australia?

When sanctions or embargoes are set by the UN, Australia enacts implementing legislation. It also implements autonomous sanctions regimes. Measures include general prohibitions on: imports and exports of goods from or to the target, dealing with designated persons or entities, and entry into the country of designated persons.

  1. Does Australia maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?

Yes. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (“DFAT”) maintains a consolidated list of sanctions targets in Australia.

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions?


  1. Does Australia have a licensing or authorisation system in place?

Yes. The Minister for Foreign Affairs (or the Minister’s delegate) may grant a permit authorising an activity that would otherwise contravene an Australian sanction law. Applications for sanctions permits must be submitted to the DFAT.

  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Australia?

The consequences for a breach of sanctions or sanctions permit are:

  • for individuals – a fine (the greater of AU$425,000 or three times the value of the transaction) and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years;
  • for corporate entities – a fine (the greater of AU$1,700,000 or three times the value of the transaction).  They are strict liability offences for corporate entities, meaning that no fault is necessary in order to be found guilty.

The consequences of giving false or misleading information are a fine of up to AU$425,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years. A sanctions permit is deemed never to have been granted if false or misleading information was contained in the application for the permit.

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in Australia and what are their contacts?

The Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs has overall responsibility for Australia’s policy on sanctions.

Sanctions Section
R G Casey Building
John McEwan Crescent
Barton ACT 0221

T: (+61) 2 6261 1111
F: (+61) 2 6261 3111

Contributor law firm

Eugene Fung & Katrina Byrne, Thomson Geer, Level 16, Waterfront Place, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane QLD 4000 Australia

T: (+61) 7 3338 7524
F: (+61) 7 3338 7599