Scientific professional independence

The department Statement of Scientific Professional Independence was approved by the Executive Management Committee and the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, in September 2018 as part of the vision of the Science Strategy.

Departmental science strategy vision:

A connected Department of Agriculture science community that underpins the work of the department, and is held in high esteem both within the department and by all of the department’s stakeholders.

Statement of scientific professional independence

Stakeholders can be confident that the Department of Agriculture (the department) produces high quality scientific advice, based on the latest available information from staff and external partners with relevant expertise and professional standing. Scientific activities are undertaken to provide:

  • the best available outputs for deciding how to effectively safeguard Australia's agricultural, fisheries, food, forestry and water resource industries so that they remain competitive, profitable and sustainable.
  • the most up-to-date, relevant, and accurate information to make evidence based decisions and inform policy development on Australia's agricultural, fisheries, food, forestry and water resources.

Departmental scientists are public servants who are obligated to work within the Australian Public Service Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct. Staff are aware of these terms of employment and advised that any public comment on departmental work will represent the views of the department, unless it is clearly stated that the views expressed are provided based on personal opinion.

This statement of independence is built on scientific work being conducted to meet the strategic mandate of the department, rather than the mandate of individuals within it.

Research and analysis needs to be scientifically robust and independent from the g overnment's views and policy positions, but should be focussed within the strategic mandates of the department. One critical role of research and analysis is to inform future policy changes.

The department recognises the need for a supportive permissive culture to foster innovation. Scientists are encouraged to ask questions, develop new ideas and methodologies and engage in effective collaboration to ensure the delivery of high-quality scientific advice. The department encourages peer-reviewed publication of scientific research outputs and, where appropriate, recognises individual staff authorship following a process of rigorous review and clearance.

Scientific professional independence is maintained at all times such that research and analysis consistent with departmental priorities is conducted without prejudice or bias.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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