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What we do

​​Our vision is for the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to help drive a stronger Australian economy by building a more profitable, more resilient and more sustainable agriculture sector, and by supporting the sustainable and productive management and use of rivers and water resources.


Our broad objectives are to:

  • help our agricultural food and fibre industries to be sustainable, productive, internationally competitive and profitable and sustainable into the future through policies, programmes and initiatives that promote
    • better resource management practices
    • research and innovation
    • self-reliance
    • improved access to international markets
  • safeguard Australia against exotic animal and plant pests and diseases through
    • risk assessment
    • inspection and certification at our borders
    • emergency response for outbreaks in Australia
    • managing risks offshore before they reach Australia
  • improve the health of rivers and freshwater eco-systems and water efficiency through
    • water reforms
    • enhanced sustainability, efficiency and productivity in the management and use of water resources.

Our business

To achieve our objectives, we:

We work hard to achieve set outcomes and priorities each year.

Responsibilities and legislation

The current Administrative Arrangements Order issued by the Attorney-General defines the matters dealt with by the department and the legislation administered by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Our vision, objectives and priorities are detailed in the department's corporate plan.

Policy advice and programmes

We provide specialised policy advice to the Australian Government and deliver a range of projects and programmes to:

  • provide evidence-based support for government and industry decision-making
  • help primary producers to gain and maintain access to overseas markets, including administration of export quotas
  • support primary producers and rural communities to be productive and sustainable through grants and other funding support
  • achieve social, economic and environmental benefits from the use of water resources.

Regulatory services

We take a risk-based approach to safeguarding Australia against animal and plant pests and diseases and help importers and exporters to meet regulatory requirements by:

  • assessing and inspecting imported animal and plant products and machinery for diseases, pests and weeds
  • setting conditions for imported animal and plant products
  • issuing import and export permits and undertaking certification of goods
  • ensuring compliance through audit, investigation and assurance activities
  • accrediting third parties to undertake activities on our behalf
  • reforming regulation and bureaucracy.

Research, data and science

Our work is grounded in research and science. We provide information and analysis on agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries:

  • commodity forecasts
  • economic analysis and modelling
  • data and statistics on issues affecting Australian farmers and rural communities
  • biophysical science for biosecurity risk assessment, forecasting and diagnostics.

Sustainability and land management

We manage interactions and relationships with the department's clients and external stakeholders:

Emergency response

We manage, coordinate and prepare for response actions to national priority pests, diseases and weeds, including:

  • appropriately trained personnel, procedures and practices
  • preparation to act rapidly in response to an outbreak
  • plans and coordinated response activities with other jurisdictions and industries
  • preparation to manage a specific incident or offshore incursion.

Levies services

We collect and audit primary industry levies for marketing, research and development, animal and plant health, residue testing and emergency response.

Community engagement and involvement

We work in partnership and collaboration with our clients, stakeholders, governments and the community. We engage with those who have a vested interest in the way we do business:

Corporate and support functions

To support the work that we do, we provide external and internal services relating to:

  • advertising and information campaigns and media liaison
  • legal and financial services
  • governance, business assurance and risk activities
  • property and facilities management
  • recruitment and employee services
  • information and communication technology (ICT).