Our portfolio

​​​Below is information on the portfolio’s statutory authorities and bodies, associated companies and other advisory bodies.

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The agriculture portfolio

Comprises of:

These bodies, excluding the Australian Grape and Wine Authority were created under the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989 and the functions and powers of the RDCs are set out in that Act.

Note: the Australian Grape and Wine Authority commenced on 1 July 2014 and replaced the former Wine Australia Corporation and the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.

Note: Biosecurity Australia ceased to be a prescribed agency from 1 July 2009 and its activities were brought within the department.

Appointments to portfolio bodies

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has developed the Balance database to support the search for potential appointees to Australian Government bodies, particularly bodies within the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio. Balance lists people with relevant skills, experience and expertise who are interested in being considered for these positions. Consistent with our obligations under the Privacy Act 1988, the database contains personal details, information on work experience, educational qualifications, interests and areas of expertise.

Advisory bodies

A number of statutory and non-statutory bodies provide independent advice or oversight on the department's policy, program and operational responsibilities. These bodies draw on industry stakeholders and other outside expertise to perform a range of roles, including overseeing development and implementation of national plans and strategies, monitoring performance, reviewing findings and decisions, and making recommendations on project funding.

  • Two statutory advisory bodies are:
    • Australian Landcare Council (ALC)
    • National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC)

      These bodies are established under a specific statute and provide advice to the minister and the department. The ALC is a ministerial advisory body on Landcare and natural resource management. NRAC advises the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on rural issues, including Exceptional Circumstances applications and extensions.
  • Significant non-statutory bodies are:
  • Other advisory bodies include the following:
    • Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee
    • Product Safety and Integrity Committee
    • Water, Soil and Food Working Group Expert Reference Panel
    • industry consultative committees
    • Business policy consultative committees.
  • Another non-statutory portfolio body is the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee, of which the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is a member

  • There are also nine industry-owned companies. These companies provide marketing and R&D services for the benefit of the Australian egg, livestock, meat, pork, wool, dairy, forest, horticulture and wood industries. Their boards are accountable to their industry members through the Corporations Act 2001 and to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry through statutory funding agreements. The agreements entitle the companies to receive industry levies and matching funding for eligible research and development expenditure

  • There are associated not-for-profit portfolio companies established under corporations law that receive funding from the Australian Government. They include: Animal Health Australia (AHA), Landcare Australia Limited, and Plant Health Australia (PHA). The Commonwealth is a shareholder in AHA and PHA.

Portfolio outcomes

The department and the portfolio agencies each have their own planned outcomes that contribute to the portfolio outcome:

More sustainable, profitable and competitive Australian agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry industries.

Our ministers

The Hon. Barnaby Joyce, MP is the Minister overseeing the department's portfolio.

Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck is the Parliamentary Secretary.

Standing councils

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) met on Friday 13 December 2013, and agreed that its Council system should be streamlined and refocused on COAG’s priorities. COAG decided that there would be a reduced number of standing councils. The Standing Council on Primary Industries is not included in the list of councils to continue under COAG and has been discontinued.

For further information on the COAG meeting please refer to the communique.

The department contributes to national approaches in agriculture, fisheries and forestry through the Standing Council on Primary Industries (SCoPI) and its standing committee, the Primary Industries Standing Committee.

SCoPI was launched in September 2011 as part of a new council system for the Council of Australian Governments.

SCoPI is the peak forum to:

  • pursue and monitor priority issues of national significance affecting Australia’s primary production sectors which require a sustained and collaborative effort across jurisdictions; and
  • address key areas of shared Commonwealth, state and territory responsibility and funding for Australia’s primary production sectors.

SCoPI’s priority issues are:

  • reform of the national biosecurity system
  • promoting the ongoing productivity and sustainability of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries
  • undertaking coordinated action across jurisdictions to strengthen long-term food security.

SCoPI has subsumed parts of the two previous ministerial councils, the Primary Industries Ministerial Council and the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council.

Interim Inspector-General of Biosecurity

As part of its preliminary response to the Beale Review (2008), the Australian Government agreed to establish a statutory office of the Inspector-General of Biosecurity (IGB).  In advance of the enabling legislation, interim arrangements are in place.

The Interim Inspector-General of Biosecurity (IIGB) reports directly to the Minister for Agriculture to provide independent assurance of the ongoing integrity of Australia’s biosecurity systems through the independent evaluation and verification of the performance of programs across the biosecurity continuum.