Our portfolio

​Our minister and parliamentary secretary

Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, is responsible for the portfolio. He is assisted by the Hon. Sid Sidebottom MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Mr Sidebottom replaced the Hon. Dr Mike Kelly AM MP as parliamentary secretary and was sworn in on 14 December 2011.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) provides advice and support to the Australian Government on agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry. We deliver a range of programs and services to achieve the government's objectives and to support stakeholders in these sectors. Further information about our role and functions is provided in Our department.

Within the portfolio, we support the minister and the parliamentary secretary in exercising their governance responsibilities in relation to portfolio agencies, advise on and oversee portfolio legislative and regulatory development, administer special appropriations for portfolio agencies and support advisory bodies.

Figure 9 Portfolio structure

Portfolio structure 

View larger image of Figure 9.

Portfolio agencies

Regulatory bodies

The portfolio has three prescribed agencies under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 that have regulatory roles. These agencies are:

  • Australian Fisheries Management Authority
  • Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
  • Wheat Exports Australia.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is responsible for ensuring the sustainable use and cost-effective management of Commonwealth fisheries. It provides management, advisory, compliance and licensing services and develops operational policies and regulations. The Australian Government and the commercial fishing industry jointly fund AFMA. Costs of managing commercial fisheries under the Commonwealth's jurisdiction are recovered through levies and charges.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority is responsible for assessing, registering and regulating the use of agricultural pesticides and medicines to protect human health and the environment. It is funded almost entirely on a cost-recovery basis through fees and levies paid by registered chemical companies.

Wheat Exports Australia (WEA) was established on 1 July 2008 to manage the Wheat Export Accreditation Scheme, which regulates the export of bulk wheat. The Wheat Export Charge and accreditation fees fund WEA's activities. The Australian Government provides grants to meet short-term funding requirements. WEA is accountable to parliament through the minister and to wheat growers through legislative reporting obligations.

Statutory marketing authority

The Wine Australia Corporation promotes the Australian wine industry through marketing strategies and regulation to protect the industry's reputation. Its activities are funded by industry levies from winemakers and fees for marketing and regulation services. It is accountable to parliament through the minister and to winemakers through the peak industry body.

Research and development corporations

The portfolio includes six research and development corporations that provide leadership and investment in research innovation as well as knowledge creation and transfer for their industries. These corporations are:

  • Cotton Research and Development Corporation
  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation
  • Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation
  • Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
  • Sugar Research and Development Corporation.

Their activities are funded by industry levies and matching Australian Government contributions. They are accountable to parliament through the minister and to their industries through the peak industry body or bodies declared by the minister.

Links to the websites of portfolio agencies are available on our website at www.daff.gov.au/about/portfolio-agencies.

Other portfolio bodies

Industry-owned companies

There are nine industry-owned companies that provide marketing and research and development services for the benefit of their industries. These companies are:

  • Australian Egg Corporation Limited
  • Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited
  • Australian Meat Processor Corporation Limited
  • Australian Pork Limited
  • Australian Wool Innovation Limited
  • Dairy Australia Limited
  • Forest and Wood Products Australia Limited
  • Horticulture Australia Limited
  • Meat and Livestock Australia Limited.

Legislation allows these declared industry-owned companies to receive industry levies and matching government contributions via statutory funding agreements with the Commonwealth. Horticulture Australia Limited also has an export control role.

Other associated companies

Three not-for-profit companies receive Australian Government funding:

  • Animal Health Australia Limited (AHA)
  • Landcare Australia Limited (LAL)
  • Plant Health Australia Limited (PHA).

AHA and PHA are not-for-profit public companies established by the Australian, state and territory governments and the livestock and plant industries. They aim to develop a collective government and industry approach to developing, coordinating and implementing animal and plant health policies and management programs. They are funded by member subscriptions, mostly raised by industry levies.

LAL is a private non-profit company, established by the Australian Government to support Landcare activities. It is funded under Caring for our Country.

Advisory bodies

A number of statutory and non-statutory bodies provide independent advice or oversight on policy, program and operational responsibilities.

These bodies include:

  • Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee
  • Australian Landcare Council
  • Biosecurity Advisory Council
  • Eminent Scientists Group
  • Forest and Wood Products Council
  • Import Risk Analysis Appeals Panel
  • National Food Policy Working Group
  • National Rural Advisory Council
  • Recreational Fishing Roundtable
  • Rural Research and Development Council
  • Statutory Fishing Rights Allocation Review Panel.

Links to the websites of these advisory bodies are available on the Portfolio agencies page on our website.

Ministerial councils

Standing Council on Primary Industries

In 2011–12, the department contributed to national approaches in agriculture, fisheries and forestry through the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) and later through the Standing Council on Primary Industries (SCoPI).

SCoPI was established as part of a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) decision to reform the ministerial council system. Twelve new standing councils were formed, including SCoPI and a new Standing Council on Environment and Water. As part of the reform process, the remits of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council and the PIMC were withdrawn. PIMC's final meeting was held on 28 October 2011 and SCoPI held its first meeting on 27 April 2012. The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is the chair of SCoPI.

SCoPI is now the peak forum to pursue and monitor issues of national significance affecting Australia's primary production sectors, as directed by COAG priorities. It deals with issues that require a sustained and collaborative effort across all jurisdictions and addresses areas of shared responsibility and funding for Australia's primary production sectors. Figure 10 shows the structure of SCoPI and its committees.

Figure 10 Standing council structure at 30 June 2012

Standing council structure at 30 June 2012 

View larger image of Figure 10.

SCoPI is developing and implementing policies and strategies to achieve agreed national approaches to biosecurity, productivity and sustainability of primary industries (including fisheries and forestry industries) and food security. It encourages greater collaboration between jurisdictions and promotes continuous improvement in the investment of research and development resources nationally.

The Primary Industries Standing Committee (PISC) supports SCoPI in the achievement of its objectives. PISC is chaired by the secretary of DAFF and comprises the department heads or chief executive officers of all government agencies in Australia and New Zealand that are responsible for primary industries policy issues. The department's continuing work through SCoPI and PISC is reported in Part 3: Report on performance.

Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation

The department contributes to the development of food regulation policy and food standards through COAG's Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation. The forum was launched in September 2011, replacing the former Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council. It comprises health ministers from New Zealand and the Australian, state and territory governments, as well as ministers from related portfolios. The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is a forum member.

The secretary of DAFF is a member of the Food Regulation Standing Committee, which coordinates policy advice to the forum and ensures a nationally consistent approach to the implementation and enforcement of food standards.

Natural Heritage Ministerial Board

The Natural Heritage Ministerial Board is a joint ministerial decision making body for the Caring for our Country initiative (see Program 1.2). It comprises the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. The board oversees the administration of the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Account under the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Act 1997.


This annual report covers the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry only and has been prepared in accordance with the 2012 Requirements for annual reports for departments, executive agencies and FMA Act bodies. It includes:

  • the annual report required under subsection 26(1) of the Natural Resources Management (Financial Assistance) Act 1992 (see Appendix 11)
  • the annual report of the National Residue Survey program, required under section 10 of the National Residue Survey Administration Act 1992 (see Appendix 12).

Portfolio agencies table their own reports, which are available on their websites.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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