External service providers


We continue to contract consultants and other non-government service providers to supply goods or services. Our procurement practices reflect the policies and principles outlined in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. We focus on:

  • value for money
  • encouraging competition
  • efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of government resources
  • accountability and transparency
  • compliance with other Australian Government policies.

Our divisions are responsible for their own purchasing, subject to the Chief Executive Instructions and supporting departmental guidelines that complement the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

Our Procurement Advice and Operations Team provides advice to all areas of the department engaged in procurement activity. Services include contract template maintenance, guidance on the procurement cycle, contract management advice, procurement training and partnering with divisions in significant approaches to the market. The team is also responsible for departmental procurement policy and reporting in accordance with government guidelines.

We met our procurement related reporting obligations, including listing on our website contracts valued at more than $100 000, in accordance with the Senate Order on Departmental and Agency Contracts.

DAFF’s annual procurement plan is published on the AusTender website by 1 July each year.

Engaging consultants

During 2012–13, the department entered into 76 new consultancy contracts, involving total actual expenditure of $3 075 676. 
In addition, 28 ongoing consultancy contracts were active, involving total actual expenditure of $1 746 559. 

Table 32 shows the number and value of consultancies with a value greater than $10 000 and total expenditure on consultancies for 2012–13 and the two previous years.

Table 32 Consultancies—number, value and total expenditure
2012–13 2011–12 2010–11
Number of consultancies with a value greater than $10 000 let during the year 76 88 157
Total value of consultancies with a value greater than $10 000 let during the year $4 515 195 $7 869 845 $12 040 356
Actual expenditure on new and ongoing consultancies during the year $4 822 235 $7 982 739 $15 977 507

We engage consultants where we lack specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined reviews or evaluations; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist in the department’s decision-making.

Before engaging consultants, we take into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and relevant internal policies such as DAFF’s Chief Executive Instructions and departmental procurement guidelines.

Other contract information

Exempt contracts

No contracts let during 2012–13 were exempted by the secretary from being published on AusTender on the basis that publication would disclose exempt matters under the FOI Act.

Access by the Auditor-General

All contracts valued at $100 000 or more (GST inclusive) let during 2012–13 provided for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

Further information on contracts and consultancies

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.

Purchaser–provider arrangements

Australian Agency for International Development

We have a strategic partnership agreement with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to strengthen cooperation between our agencies in a whole-of-government approach to development work in the Asia–Pacific region. The agreement includes:

  • the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Diagnostic Network Project
  • bilateral activities under the Public Sector Linkages Program
  • the Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonotic Disease Regional Initiative Program.

The ASEAN project covers activities including training in the diagnostics of plant pests and diseases, mentoring visits by regional specialists to Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia and providing high-resolution microscopes and equipment for remote diagnostics.

Bilateral capacity building programs have included a project to develop DNA barcodes for exotic pests in Thailand, providing remote diagnostic equipment to Indonesia and the Philippines, a sanitary and phytosanitary awareness seminar in India, a strategy for a forest health surveillance network in Southeast Asia and translating a reference guide for pest surveillance into Chinese and Lao.

Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security

We engaged the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security to conduct a deskt​op literature study of current harvest strategies used in a selection of other countries. The study was used to assist the review of the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines.

Scientific research and analysis

We enter into purchaser–provider arrangements with a range of government, industry and private sector agencies to deliver scientific and economic research services to improve the productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.

In 2012–13, we established service provider arrangements with the following organisations:

  • Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
  • Australian Fisheries Management Authority
  • AusAID
  • Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis
  • Dairy Australia
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Department of Fisheries, Western Australia
  • Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
  • Department of Primary Industries, Victoria
  • Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia
  • Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport—Office of Northern Australia
  • Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Farm Foundation USA
  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
  • Fisheries Resources Research Fund
  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand
  • Forest and Wood Products Australia
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation
  • Horticulture Australia Limited
  • International Food Policy Research Institute
  • Meat and Livestock Australia
  • Murray–Darling Basin Commission
  • National Environment Protection Council Service Corporation
  • National Water Commission
  • Plant Health Australia
  • Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
  • Taronga Zoo
  • University of Canberra, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling
  • University of South Australia
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Tasmania

Advertising and market research

Payments of more than $12 100 (including GST) to advertising agencies, market research organisations, polling organisations, direct mail organisations and media advertising organisations are set out in Table 33.

The department did not undertake any advertising campaigns in 2012–13.

Table 33 Advertising and market research for 2012–13
Organisation Description Expenditure a
Total $407 070.24
Advertising agencies—creative head hours billed
Market research organisations $14 993.00
Instinct and Reason Market research and product testing of airport signage ($14 993)
Polling organisations
Direct mail organisations $47 134.23
Blue Star Printing Group Australia For distribution and fulfilment of biosecurity brochure orders ($14 676.23)
Union Offset Printers, Axiom Printing and mail distribution of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System brochure sent to all cattle workers in the Northern Territory ($32 458)
Media advertising organisations—including recruitment and tender notices $344 943.01
Ad Corp Purchase of all DAFF’s non-campaign advertising and recruitment advertising nationwide ($344 943.01)

a All figures are inclusive of GST

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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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