Corporate plan 2016–17

​​​​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 2016

The Corporate plan provides information to our stakeholders and the wider community on the department’s purpose and how we intend to measure our activities against that purpose. Our performance measures will be reported on in the Annual Performance Statement included in the 2016–17 Annual Report which will be released in October 2017.

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Statement of preparation

The corporate plan is a Commonwealth entity requirement under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The plan is prepared in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 and will be acquitted in the 2015–16 Annual Performance Statement contained in the 2016–17 Annual Report. The reporting periods covered by the corporate plan are 2016–17 to 2019–20.

Foreword

I am pleased to present to our staff, clients and stakeholders the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Corporate Plan 2016–17.

This reporting year began with a federal election, and with the return of the Coalition Government we come to this corporate plan with a renewed yet consistent remit.

In 2016–17, we will continue to implement the government’s initiatives to strengthen agriculture through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. We also have new initiatives to implement, including the National Water Infrastructure Loans Facility announced in the Federal Budget, and the government’s election commitments.

We also have our significant body of ongoing work under the Biosecurity Act 2015, delivering better farm-gate returns to our primary producers, helping our portfolio industries make the most of Australia’s free trade agreements and other market access opportunities, providing continuing support to rural communities, supporting the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan and promoting sustainable resource management.

We continue to serve the Deputy Minister and our Assistant Minister, and welcome the new Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.

This corporate plan outlines our strategic objectives, priorities for the year and the targets we will use to measure our performance. It builds on the performance framework established in last year’s plan, and we have refined many of our measures, including targets across the next four years.

This includes performance targets for our corporate business areas, highlighting their work in meeting our objectives. We have tried to focus on outcomes that will matter to our stakeholders, which is ambitious and will be a work in progress over coming years as we improve these targets.

The plan also sets out our risk approach, and the importance of talking about how we manage our risks, so that we continue to find innovative ways of doing business while ensuring we deliver our commitments.

I invite our clients and stakeholders to read the corporate plan as the broad picture of the work we will carry out on your behalf over the next year and beyond.

For our staff, the plan should inform your business planning and the work you do to achieve our purpose: to help drive a stronger Australian economy by building a more profitable, resilient and sustainable agriculture sector, and by supporting the sustainable and productive management and use of rivers and water resources.

Daryl Quinlivan

Our purpose

We help drive a stronger Australian economy by building a more profitable, resilient and sustainable agriculture sector, and by supporting the sustainable and productive management and use of rivers and water resources.

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Our role

The department has a diverse role as a policy adviser to government, researcher, program administrator, service provider, market access negotiator and regulator.

Our work contributes to strengthening Australia’s primary industries, delivering better returns to primary producers at the farm gate, protecting Australia from animal and plant pests and diseases, and improving the health of Australia’s rivers and freshwater ecosystems.

Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry are multi-billion dollar industries that benefit from our regulation, research, policies and programs to improve their productivity, competitiveness and sustainability.

We minimise the biosecurity risks to the environment and to human, animal and plant health by ensuring the safe movement of millions of people, goods, vessels and aircraft into and out of Australia.

Australia’s water is critical to the future of agriculture and the wellbeing of the environment and our communities. We work to improve the health of rivers and freshwater systems, to ensure the sustainable, efficient and productive management and use of water resources and to maximise social, economic and environmental benefits to water users and the community.

As a policy adviser to government, we provide rigorous, evidence-based advice, with a focus on whole-of-government priorities. Our policy advice is grounded in analysis undertaken by our scientists and economists.

Our strategic objectives

We work to achieve our purpose through eight strategic objectives.

Building successful primary industries

We develop and administer policies and programs to help Australia’s primary industries and producers become more productive and profitable. We collaborate with industries and state and territory governments to address domestic and international issues, and work with research and development corporations to promote innovation.

Supporting agricultural communities

We provide targeted support and financial assistance to primary producers and rural small businesses. Some of these programs involve mutual obligations, which encourage producers to adopt better-practice approaches to managing their businesses. Other programs provide assistance and support to farm businesses during times of hardship, such as severe drought.

In the longer term, these programs are designed to improve the ability of primary producers to manage risks and support their families and communities.

Expanding agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports

We work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to achieve the best outcomes for Australian agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations.

We handle the technical aspects of market access and negotiate with trading partners on arrangements to open, maintain and improve access. We also provide expert advice in negotiations to restore markets when trade is disrupted.

We provide export inspection and certification services for primary produce to ensure exporters meet the requirements of trading partners and maintain their access to international markets. We also manage quota arrangements for commodities, including dairy, meat and livestock, exported to the European Union, Japan and the United States.

Sustaining natural resources for longer-term productive primary industries

We are responsible for programs to promote sustainable environmental management practices and to help producers adapt to climate change. We work with other agencies and stakeholders to support national approaches to natural resource management, including policies on sustainable agriculture, soil, water, forests and other native vegetation.

We support the ecologically sustainable management of Australia’s forests by administering Regional Forest Agreements. We are also responsible for national and international measures to combat illegal logging and its associated trade, and represent Australia’s interests overseas to promote sustainable forest management.

We work with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority on managing our Commonwealth fisheries, and with state and territory agencies on developing national approaches to sustainable management of the fishing industry. We also represent Australia’s interests overseas to promote responsible fishing practices and to combat illegal fishing.

Improving water use efficiency and the health of rivers, communities, environmental assets and production systems

We contribute to enhancing the sustainability, efficiency and productivity of water systems and improving their overall health. We work with communities, businesses and other governments to minimise unsustainable water use and return water to the environment. We work closely with the Murray–Darling Basin Authority to implement water reform through the Basin Plan.

Our activities under this strategic objective also support our work through other objectives to build productive and competitive primary industries and sustain Australia’s natural resources.

Managing biosecurity and imported food risk

We undertake activities to preserve Australia’s favourable animal and plant health status. Our work helps to maintain overseas markets and to protect human health, the environment and the economy. We provide biosecurity services to screen people, cargo and food entering through Australia’s airports and seaports, and undertake post-entry quarantine for animals and plants brought into the country.

We also collaborate with state and territory governments and industries to prepare for and respond to outbreaks of exotic animal and plant pests and diseases, through the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity.

Building an efficient and capable department

Our corporate capability enables us to deliver the government’s programs and achieve our strategic objectives.

Our People Strategy fosters a positive culture, strengthens our client focus, helps us to provide safe workplaces and promotes high performance in a changing business environment.

Through our Finance Strategy, we undertake prudent financial management, make investments to maintain and improve our services to the government and our clients, and ensure our cost-recovered services are efficient, transparent and sustainably funded.

Our Information and Communication Technology Strategic Plan supports staff productivity and capability, and our commitment to modernising our service delivery.

Our scientific and economic research through ABARES provides evidence-based research and data to support policy and decision-making across our strategic objectives.

Being a best practice regulator

We have regulatory responsibilities associated with our biosecurity and market-related functions.

We work to be a transparent and efficient regulator by building client and community understanding and trust in our advice and services.

We operate under a risk-based compliance approach that recognises good performance with reduced regulatory burden.

How we work

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Our reach

The department has a wide domestic and international presence in more than 300 locations around Australia and 16 countries around the world.

We work in airports, mail centres, shipping ports, quarantine facilities, laboratories, abattoirs and offices in cities, regional centres and rural communities throughout Australia and overseas.

Our skills and experience are diverse. We are policy officers, program administrators, scientists, researchers, economists, accountants, information and communication technology specialists, veterinarians, meat inspectors, survey staff, biosecurity officers and more.

Our work involves collaboration and consultation with many other Australian Government and state and territory agencies. Our partnerships and client base are broad and include primary industries, importers and exporters, consumers, rural and regional communities, and travellers.

Our commitment to service

We provide intelligence-led and evidence-based advice and high-quality services to our ministers:

For our clients, we are committed to:

  • making our services easy to use, efficient, accessible and suitable to their needs
  • being transparent in our processes, decision-making, conduct and performance
  • respecting their privacy, confidentiality, rights and heritage
  • working together to understand how to improve our services.

Our challenges

The challenges we face during the reporting periods of this corporate plan include:

  • delivering policies and programs that enable primary producers to become more productive and sustainable in a sector affected by a volatile global economy and fluctuations in the value of the Australian dollar
  • responding to the effects of climate change on the availability and quality of the natural resources on which our industries depend
  • helping Australian primary producers to be internationally competitive in an environment of increasing competition from other agricultural exporters and changes in consumer demand
  • ensuring a sustainable water supply in the face of increased climate variability and rising demand for water
  • managing Australia’s biosecurity and imported food risks as the volume of passengers and mail increases and global trade pathways become more complex
  • collaborating with state and territory jurisdictions that are responsible for many of the issues affecting our portfolio industries
  • balancing the needs of our clients and the community’s expectations with our enforcement obligations as a risk-based regulator
  • continuing to build our service delivery in a rapidly changing technological environment
  • ensuring we have the people and systems we need to deliver the government’s priorities, while working within our allocated resources.

We will work to address these challenges through our strategic objectives.

Our priorities

Our priorities for 2016–17 are:

  • implementing initiatives under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to build the infrastructure to support a competitive agriculture sector
  • implementing the government’s election commitments
  • continuing to build a modern, flexible and responsive biosecurity system under the Biosecurity Act 2015
  • pursuing new market access for Australian exporters, including opportunities arising from free trade agreements with North Asian countries, and supporting work on prospective free trade agreements
  • implementing programs for new water infrastructure, including the National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility, the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and new irrigation schemes in Tasmania
  • delivering programs to support the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan through water recovery and the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism
  • driving regulatory reform to be a trusted, effective and transparent best practice regulator
  • continuing to modernise our approach to service delivery to provide efficient and effective services that meet our clients’ needs
  • investing in our people to continue to build our capability and effectiveness
  • contributing to the government’s initiative to manage public data as a national resource for the benefit of the Australian people.

How we measure our performance

Our performance measures are designed to assess the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of our activities to meet our strategic objectives over the four years of this corporate plan. These include measures also published in the Portfolio Budget Statements.

We will report on our performance each year through the Annual Performance Statements published as part of the annual report. We will also report on our performance as a regulator through the Regulator Performance Framework.

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Building successful primary industries

Improve the net farm-gate returns for agriculture, fisheries, forestry, food and fibre industries.

In 2016–17, our activities will include:

  • delivering initiatives under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to provide farmers with information on cooperatives and managing farm risk and to streamline the regulation of agricultural and veterinary chemicals
  • contributing to the Productivity Commission inquiry into the regulation of agriculture and leading the government’s response to its findings
  • collaborating with other agencies to implement the transition to new country-of-origin food labelling requirements
  • working with industries and domestic and international stakeholders to address agreed industry priorities
  • delivering the third round of the Rural Research and Development for Profit program and monitoring the progress of funded projects from the first and second rounds
  • continuing levies reform, including enabling rural research and development corporations to access levy-payer information
  • publicly releasing an Australian Fisheries Statement and statements on a National Aquaculture Strategy, a Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy and a Commonwealth Bycatch Policy.

Performance measures—Strategic objective 1

Measure

Targets

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

Portfolio industries record an increase in productivity a

Average annual productivity growth for the past 10 years is equal to or exceeds average annual market sector productivity growth over the same period

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The rate of return on capital invested across portfolio industries is maintained or increased a

The trend growth for the past 10 years is positive

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The availability of safe, efficient and effective agricultural and veterinary chemicals improves

 A legislated review of the operation of the 2013 amendments from the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Act 2013 finds that the changes were effective

Investment in rural research and development corporation programs demonstrates positive returns

Evaluation of investment in agricultural research, development and extension shows positive returns b

100% of allocated funding under the Research and Development for Profit program expended in accordance with the agreed timetable

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

100% of rural research and development corporations are compliant with statutory and contractual requirements

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

A high level of efficiency is achieved in collecting and distributing levies to fund research and development in research and development corporations

Levy collection processes cost no more than 1.2% of levies disbursed

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Inspections of levy agent records cover at least 30% of levy revenue over a three-year rolling average

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

a Performance measure and targets published in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17.
b Given the long-term relationship between research and development and productivity, we will not report against this performance indicator every year.

Supporting agricultural communities

Provide targeted assistance to help primary producers, their families and communities manage adjustment pressures in hard times.

In 2016–17, our activities will include:

  • implementing Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives, and financial and climate-related measures to help primary producers build their resilience and manage risk
  • providing concessional loans to farm businesses affected by drought, through agreements with state and territory governments
  • providing concessional loans and delivering other business support to dairy farmers affected by reduced milk payments
  • working with the Department of Human Services to provide the Farm Household Allowance
  • delivering the Rural Financial Counselling Service program to support primary producers and rural businesses suffering, or at risk of, financial hardship
  • continuing to work with states and territories on national approaches to drought assistance
  • working with stakeholders and the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority to collect annual data on farm debt.

Performance measures—Strategic objective 2

Measure

Targets

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

Financial and business assistance improves primary producers’ business and personal circumstances a

$388 million is made available to primary producers b c

$345 million is made available to primary producers b c

$354 million is made available to primary producers b c

At least $334 million is made available to primary producers d

Less than 3% of drought-related concessional loans are in arrears greater than 90 days

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

100% of current Farm Household Allowance recipients complete Farm Financial Assessments and Financial Improvement Agreements in the required timeframes e

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

At the end of their concessional loan terms, farm businesses pay off the concessional loans in full or return to commercial lending

As per 2018–19

Primary producers use deposits and withdrawals under the Farm Management Deposits scheme to manage their financial risks and income variations

The number of primary producers using Farm Management Deposits is maintained or increased

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Recipients of business and financial assistance report improved business management skills and increased confidence to make informed business decisions

The number of farm businesses encouraged to seek a new insurance product increases

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

80% of clients who used the Rural Financial Counselling Service report being more confident in making informed business decisions

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Funding and grants programs are delivered according to requirements and have a positive end-of-program evaluation

100% of Rural Financial Counselling Service providers and grantees meet requirements

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The end-of-funding evaluation of the Rural Financial Counselling Service is positive

a Performance measure and targets published in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17.
b Based on funding made available by government for the drought concessional loans (ongoing), Rural Financial Counselling Service, Managing Farm Risk Program, and projected uptake of the Farm Household Allowance.
c The Farm Household Allowance is an uncapped, demand-driven program.
d Based on funding made available by government for the drought concessional loans (ongoing) and projected take-up of the Farm Household Allowance.
e The required time frames for assessments and agreements are outlined in the Farm Household Support Act 2014; further guidance on extensions is contained in supporting instruments.
f Data for the current year is not available until the following year.

Expanding agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports

Maximise returns to primary producers from selling into export markets.

Provide certification of exports to meet importing country requirements.

In 2016–17, our activities will include:

  • delivering Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives including priority projects under the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation program, and modernising traceability systems for food exports to enhance Australia’s food safety credentials
  • reviewing the quota administration system and improving the legislative framework
  • implementing Australia’s free trade agreements and continuing to work towards new agreements with other trading partners
  • developing new market access strategies at the country, region and commodity levels
  • rolling out projects to help small exporters improve market access
  • implementing the recommendations of the plant and meat export cost-recovery reviews
  • trialling an electronic system for export certification with Malaysia and Thailand.

Performance measures—Strategic objective 3

Measure

Targets

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

The trend in value of agricultural exports increases in real terms over time a

The value of agricultural exports exceeds the average of the previous 10 years

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Export certification meets importing country requirements a

Less than 1% of consignments are rejected as a result of export certification failure

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

No markets are lost as a consequence of failed departmental certification services

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Less than 5% of quota allocations are rejected because of quota certification failures

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Access to overseas markets accepting Australian agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports is gained, maintained or improved

Export markets are gained, maintained or improved

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Agricultural exports increase to countries with which Australia has recently signed a free trade agreement

The value of agricultural exports to China, Japan and the Republic of Korea exceeds the 10-year average

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

International policy and standards to support Australian agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports are maintained or improved

The department influences the work of international standard setting bodies including the Codex Alimentarius Commission, International Plant Protection Convention and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Feedback from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development confirms Australia’s participation demonstrates leadership and influences effective change

Positive industry feedback is received on agreed market access priorities and resolution of market access problems

Positive market research results

Positive market research results

Australia’s international agricultural relationships are upheld

100% of all portfolio statutory reporting obligations under international agreements are met

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

100% of membership funds to international organisations are paid in accordance with Australia’s international obligations and statutory requirements

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The department actively participates in bilateral and multilateral negotiations, meetings and high-level visits to pursue and promote Australia’s international trade objectives

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

a Performance measures and targets published in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17.

Sustaining natural resources for longer-term productive primary industries

Promote stewardship of agricultural land, forests and fisheries to maintain the quality of natural resources, including in times of drought.

In 2016–17, our activities will include:

  • delivering Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives including research and national plans to manage pest animals and weeds
  • providing analysis and advice to build the capability of farmers, fishers and foresters to productively and sustainably manage Australia’s natural resources
  • working with the Department of the Environment and Energy to administer the National Landcare Program and design the future natural resource management program
  • administering the natural resource management and related grants programs
  • contributing to the Productivity Commission inquiry on marine fisheries and aquaculture and leading the government’s response to its findings
  • reviewing the domestic legislative framework and enforcement powers for addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
  • implementing forestry programs, such as Regional Forest Agreement reviews, the enforcement of illegal logging laws and effective international engagement.

Performance measures—Strategic objective 4

Measure

Targets

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

An increased percentage of agricultural  businesses use sustainable management practices a

More than half of broadacre cropping, horticulture, beef, sheep and dairy farms have adopted sustainable land management practices in 2015–16 b

More than half of broadacre cropping, horticulture, beef, sheep and dairy farms have adopted sustainable land management practices in 2017–18 c

The status of the resource base is maintained or improved a

The percentage of fish stocks solely managed by the Commonwealth that are not overfished was maintained or increased in the previous year d

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

100% of Commonwealth fisheries maintain approval under Part 13A of the  Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Groundcover is maintained or increased in in the reporting year compared with the average of the previous 10 years e

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Positive industry feedback on the applicability and usability of better practice information that the department provides

Positive market research results

Positive market research results

Funding and grants programs are delivered according to requirements and have positive program evaluations

100% of the sustainable agriculture outcomes of the National Landcare Program are delivered in accordance with grant guidelines and financial reporting arrangements

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

More than 70% of evaluations under the sustainable agriculture components of the National Landcare Program are positive

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

a Performance measure and targets published in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17.
b Australian Bureau of Statistics data for 2015–16 for this indicator are not expected to be available for reporting until 2017–18.
c
Australian Bureau of Statistics data for 2017–18 for this indicator are not expected to be available for reporting until 2019–20.
d Status is assessed retrospectively for the previous year.
e
The methodology for assessing the status of the resource base using remote sensing is under development.

Improving water use efficiency and the health of rivers, communities, environmental assets and production systems

Improve the environmental health of the Murray–Darling Basin consistent with national and international obligations by recovering water and prioritising water-saving infrastructure projects.

Help communities, irrigators and businesses use water resources sustainably and efficiently, consistent with nationally agreed water reforms.

In 2016–17, our activities will include:

  • administering programs and infrastructure projects to support the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan through water recovery and the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism
  • delivering the National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility and the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper
  • conducting an annual assessment of jurisdictions’ performance against milestones in the National Partnership Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the Murray–Darling Basin
  • implementing the government’s response to recommendations of the review of the Water Act 2007
  • the first registrations of ultra-water-efficient toilets and showers under the Water Efficiency Labelling Standards Scheme
  • releasing the new Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan to enable consultation with stakeholders
  • delivering the draft State of the Basin Condition assessment as part of the review of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement
  • maintaining Australia’s international relationships on water cooperation.

Performance measures—Strategic objective 5

Measure

Targets

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

Water recover continues in the Murray–Darling Basin, consistent with the Water Recovery Strategy a

Gap bridging water registered to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder is at least 1768 gigalitres by 30 June 2017 b

Gap bridging water registered to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder is at least 1916 gigalitres by 30 June 2018 b

Gap bridging water registered to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder is at least 1938 gigalitres by 30 June 2019 b

National Water Infrastructure Development Fund investments provide affordable water to support the growth of regional economies a

At least 25 water infrastructure feasibility studies are funded, including at least five in Northern Australia

A commitment to co‑fund the construction of water infrastructure is made with at least one state or territory in the reporting year through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund

As per 2017–18

As per 2017–18

The National Water Infrastructure Loans Facility is established to support state and territory governments investment in water infrastructure that will provide affordable water to support the growth of regional economies a

Arrangements are established to support state and territory governments to access the National Water Infrastructure Loans Facility

State and territory governments are provided with access to the National Infrastructure Loans Facility to co-fund the construction of water infrastructure

As per 2017–18

As per 2017–18

Basin governments agree on and implement a package of measures for notification to the Murray–Darling Basin Authority on the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism

Commonwealth funding agreement(s) are in place for supply and constraints projects notified in the reporting year

As per 2016–17

The Basin Plan is amended to provide for a second notification

Basin governments agree on a second notification of further measures

Identified pilot efficiency measure projects are delivered

Identified efficiency measures projects are delivered

As per 2017–18

As per 2017–18

a Performance measure and targets published in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17.
b
All water recovery figures are expressed in long-term average annual yield terms. The current Commonwealth water recovery target is 1938 gigalitres, being 2750 gigalitres (Murray–Darling Basin Plan) less 650 gigalitres (target for supply measure offsets) less 162 gigalitres state recoveries.

Managing biosecurity and imported food risk

Use evidence-based risk management to ensure the safe movement into and out of Australia of people, animals, plants, food and cargo.

Coordinate emergency responses to exotic pest and disease incursions.

In 2016–17, our activities will include:

  • ​delivering Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives to strengthen biosecurity through enhanced surveillance, intelligence and traceability systems
  • supporting the independent review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity
  • continuing to deliver a modern, flexible biosecurity system under the Biosecurity Act 2015
  • conducting a national simulation exercise to test new onshore biosecurity powers to manage pest and disease incursions
  • implementing improvements to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme
  • progressing major reviews of import conditions for sturgeon, psittacines and fresh beef
  • streamlining risk assessments and permit issuing for live animals and biological products
  • implementing recommendations from the marine pests review
  • implementing new ballast water legislation.

Performance measures—Strategic objective 6

Measure

Targets

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

Australia maintains a favourable pest and disease status a

Qualitative assessment that the nature and impact of animal and plant biosecurity incursions has not significantly harmed Australia’s favourable pest and disease status b

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Pest and disease eradication is funded throughout the year based on national priorities

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The Intergovernmental  Agreement on Biosecurity is found to be effective in managing the national biosecurity system

The effectiveness and efficiency of biosecurity and food interventions on import pathways improves c

The post-intervention compliance rate for passengers and mail is maintained or improved

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Interventions on low-risk pathways are reduced d

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The compliance rate for all food inspected is maintained or improved

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Responses to biosecurity and imported food incidents improves

The department assesses that responses to biosecurity and imported food incidents have improved

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Risk assessments for imported goods use science-based risk analysis, drawing on the best available scientific information and advice

100% of import risk assessments are conducted in accordance with regulations and the best available science and advice

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The ability of governments, industry and the community to quickly and effectively respond to exotic pest and disease incursions improves

Responses to pest and disease incursions and outbreaks are managed according to relevant frameworks

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Requests for rapid response in the event of a significant exotic pest or disease outbreak are responded to immediately

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

100% of priority emergency plans (AUSVETPLAN, AQUAVETPLAN, EMPPLAN and PLANTPLAN) reflect contemporary science of emergency responses to plant and animal pests and diseases

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Public awareness of biosecurity risks improves

The number of followers on and the total reach of the Australian Biosecurity Facebook page is maintained or increased

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Positive market research results

As per 2018–19

a Performance measure and targets published in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17.
b Assessment based on information including OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) notifications, plant incursions and market access issues directly related to biosecurity.
c
Performance measures for post-compliance rates for cargo will be developed.
d For imported plant products only.

Building an efficient and capable department

Focus on performance, deliver on our objectives, meet our statutory obligations and parliamentary requirements, and continuously build organisational capability.

Our people

In 2016–17, our activities will include:

  • continuing to improve the department’s safety and rehabilitation management systems and fostering a positive safety culture
  • enhancing the department’s learning and development to reinforce an active learning culture
  • continuing efforts to effectively manage unscheduled absences
  • delivering a new enterprise agreement
  • developing a new Reconciliation Action Plan, and continuing activities to attract and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.

Our systems and technology

In 2016–17, our activities will include:

  • implementing new systems to support and simplify our financial management operations
  • contributing to the government’s initiative to manage public data as a national resource for the benefit of the Australian people
  • implementing the government’s Shared and Common Services Program Agenda
  • working on the Agricultural Intelligence Transformation Project to support policy and decision-making
  • continuing to refine our performance measurement framework.

Our service delivery

In 2016–17, our activities will include:

  • continuing the Service Delivery Modernisation program, including introducing online appointments and reservations, and a registration portal for exports and for accreditation of brokers and laboratories
  • conducting a functional and efficiency review of water resources programs
  • delivering major infrastructure projects, including phase two of the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility and the new Central East Region office.

Performance measures—Strategic objective 7

Measure

Targets

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

2019–20

A positive, professional and engaged workforce is maintained or improved

The employee engagement score in the APS Employee Census is maintained or improved a b

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The unscheduled absence rate is reduced

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The gender balance across the Executive Level and Senior Executive Service classifications is 50% across the department and there is progress toward 50% in each division

As per 2016-17

As per 2016-17

As per 2016-17

Indigenous employment is 2.5% or greater

Indigenous employment is 2.5% or greater

The department maintains safe and healthy workplaces

The notifiable incident rate is maintained or reduced c

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The lost time injury frequency rate is maintained or reduced d

As per 2017–18

As per 2017–18

The department’s Comcare premium is maintained or reduced

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Stakeholders and clients assess ABARES research and analysis as high-quality, evidence-​based, accurate and meeting their needs

80% of underpinning research, advice, forecast, projects, products and data services meet stakeholder expectations and are delivered within agreed time frames e

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

85% of respondents are satisfied that the ABARES Outlook Conference met or exceeded expectations e

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The department delivers a balanced and financially sustainable budget

A balanced budget is set at the beginning of the financial year

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The department manages its cash in accordance with its capital management plan and with regard to its forward year commitments

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

The end-of-year financial position is consistent with forecasts from the start of the year

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Information and communication technology meets the department’s business needs

No clients or staff are affected by an unplanned outage of department-managed ICT infrastructure or business application  f

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

90% of ICT projects are delivered on time and within budget

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Business processes and client services are improved through the better use of modern technology and improved work practices, and agreed service standards are met f

Service delivery modernisation initiatives implemented in the reporting year provide benefits to clients

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

Agreed service standards are met

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

As per 2016–17

a APSC Census results assessed retrospectively for the previous year.
b Employee engagement score uses the average engagement scores across the following categories: job engagement; team engagement; supervisor engagement; and agency engagement.
c
A notifiable incident is defined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and includes: death of a worker or serious injury or illness requiring immediate treatment as an inpatient at a hospital or treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance or dangerous incident prescribed by the Work Health and Safety Regulations.
d
Baseline data not available until 2016–17.
e
Client satisfaction survey as measured by an annual survey of ABARES clients.
f
Excludes failures of infrastructure or equipment hosted by external vendors or on public networks that are outside of the department’s control.

Being a best practice regulator

The Australian Governme​nt Re​gulator Performance Framework was developed to encourage regulators to undertake their functions with the minimum impact necessary to achieve regulatory objectives and to effect positive ongoing and lasting cultural change.

We perform a range of functions to achieve regulatory objectives. The following core functions are within the scope of the framework:

  • the delivery of biosecurity functions
  • the control of exports, including certification
  • the monitoring of imported food
  • the regulation of the importation of timber products and processing of raw logs to combat illegal logging
  • the implementation of water efficiency and labelling standards
  • the collection of levies for research, development and marketing.

In 2016–17, we will maintain a focus on being a trusted, effective and transparent best practice regulator.

Performance information

We will complete a self-assessment against the Regulator Performance Framework, in consultation with key stakeholders. The assessment report will be made publicly available by December of each year.

We will assess our performance against the six key indicators in the framework:

  • Regulators do not unnecessarily impede the efficient operation of regulated entities.
  • Communication with regulated entities is clear, targeted and effective.
  • Actions undertaken by regulators are proportionate to the regulatory risk being managed.
  • Compliance and monitoring approaches are streamlined and coordinated.
  • Regulators are open and transparent in their dealings with regulated entities.
  • Regulators actively contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks.

How we manage risk

We are working to encourage meaningful and open conversations about risk in the organisation to stimulate better risk identification, management and escalation.

Our Enterprise Risk Management Policy and Framework are administered in line with the requirements of the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy. We take a risk-based approach to policy and program development, and integrate risk management with our governance, planning and performance management processes.

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Our strategic risks

The department has identified five areas of strategic risk to achieving our purpose:

  • Pest and disease incursions—maintaining capacity to prevent and respond to incursions.
  • Maintain and improve market access—enabling the expansion of agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports, as well as preparing for and quickly responding to any loss of market access.
  • Effective implementation of government priorities—ensuring the department meets timing and delivery expectations in respect of key government initiatives.
  • Maintain and enhance reputation—ensuring the department continuously and effectively engages with key stakeholders and has their trust and respect.
  • An efficient and effective department—ensuring the financial, workforce and systems capability of the department is sufficient to meet our legal obligations and achieve our strategic objectives.

These risk areas are monitored regularly by the Executive Management Committee, which is our key governance body.

Each division develops a risk plan as part of its annual business plan, and risk management procedures are integrated into our project management processes.

Our risk appetite

The department’s broad tolerances for each risk type are expressed in the Risk Appetite Matrix in our Enterprise Risk Management Policy and Framework.

In relation to specific functions, the department has a low appetite for any risk relating to work health and safety, and fraud and security, and a medium risk appetite for finance, ICT, administering programs, policy, projects and grants.

The department has a generally low to medium risk appetite in relation to biosecurity. However, specific risk appetites range from Australia’s appropriate level of protection, which specifies a very low appetite for biosecurity risks, to a higher risk appetite for opportunities to innovate service delivery.

During 2016–17, we will review the department’s risk appetite and tolerance.

Our fraud control

Our Fraud and Corruption Control Plan provides a comprehensive framework for identifying, deterring, detecting, investigating and reporting fraud and corruption, and meeting broader government obligations. Fraud and corruption risk assessments are undertaken biennially to identify risks, treatment strategies, responsibilities, target dates and reporting obligations.

The department promotes a strong culture of integrity and adherence to the APS Values and Code of Conduct, with zero tolerance to fraud and corruption. Senior management are expected to lead by example and demonstrate high standards of professionalism, integrity and ethics. All staff undertake mandatory training on understanding, recognising and reporting fraud and corruption. We report annually on our fraud management to the Australian Institute of Criminology.

In accordance with the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006, prescribed employees of the department are under the jurisdiction of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

Our security

Our Protective Security Control Plan provides the framework for preventing, deterring and detecting security risks, and for meeting the security obligations detailed in the Australian Government’s Protective Security Policy Framework. We conduct security-focused risk assessments biennially.

All departmental officers complete biennial security training in recognising security vulnerabilities, understanding security obligations and reporting security incidents. Staff who require access to security classified information are required to obtain and maintain an appropriate security clearance.

We report annually on our compliance with the Protective Security Policy Framework to the Attorney-General’s Department and other key stakeholders.

Our assurance processes

Our Audit Committee provides independent assurance and assistance to the secretary on our risk, performance, control and compliance framework and our external accountability responsibilities.

The internal audit function reports to the Audit Committee and works independently of business areas to evaluate our management systems, practices and controls. External service providers are also contracted to undertake audit functions. Audits provides assurance to senior management on corporate governance and departmental administration, as well as our ability to meet the department’s objectives.

The Inspector-General of Biosecurity is responsible for enhancing the integrity of Australia’s biosecurity systems through the independent evaluation and verification of the performance of our programs. The Inspector-General reports to the Minister, and completed audits and reviews are published at igb.gov.au.

The Australian National Audit Office conducts audits of our performance and the annual financial statements.

Access and availability

This plan is available in HTML and PDF versions on department’s website.

Feedback

The department welcomes comments on the readability and usefulness of this plan.

Postal address:

Corporate Plan
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601

Email: Annual Report contact
Telephone: 1800 900 090