Global sanctions guide

  1. Does Australia have a sanctions regime in place?

Yes. Australian sanction laws are enacted by the federal parliament, and 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 (Cth) (the “Autonomous Act”) and the corresponding Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 (Cth).

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

When sanctions or embargoes are set by the UN, Australia enacts implementing regulations. It also implements autonomous sanctions regimes. Measures include general prohibitions on: import
and export 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?

Yes. While this is not a formal sanctions measure, the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Regulations 2016 imposes enhanced customer due diligence requirements for reporting entities in Australia which carry out financial transactions with persons or corporations in Iran or the Democratic.

  1. Does Australia have a licensing or authorization 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?

Contravening sanctions measure or sanctions permit

With regards to individuals, these offences are punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine, the greater of AU$450,000 or three times the value of the transaction.

With regards to bodies corporate, these offences are punishable by a fine, the greater of AU$1.8 million or three times the value of the transaction. They are strict liability offences for bodies corporate, meaning that it is not necessary to prove any fault element (intent, knowledge, recklessness or negligence) in order to be found guilty.

Giving false or misleading information

These offences are punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of AU$450,000.

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, and can be contacted at:

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


Applications for sanctions permits may be submitted through the Online Sanctions Administration System, which is accessible at:

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