The Agriculture portfolio aims to enhance the sustainability, profitability and competitiveness of Australia’s agriculture, food, fisheries, forestry and related industries.
During 2013–14, the portfolio consisted of:
- the Australian Government Department of Agriculture
- two prescribed agencies under the
Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) that also have regulatory roles:
- Australian Fisheries Management Authority
- Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
- one statutory marketing authority:
- Wine Australia Corporation
- six research and development corporations:
- Grape and Wine
- Rural Industries
The Sugar Research and Development Corporation closed on 30 September 2013, following the passage of reform legislation. The corporation’s functions and assets were transferred to the industry-owned company Sugar Research Australia.
The Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and the Wine Australia Corporation will be merged to form the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) on 1 July 2014. The AGWA will undertake the functions of the GWRDC and Wine Australia without a change in the structure or nature of the levies that currently fund both authorities. The assets, staff and functions of GWRDC and Wine Australia will transfer to the new authority and a new board will be established.
Links to the websites of portfolio agencies.
Our minister and parliamentary secretary
The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Minister for Agriculture, is responsible for the portfolio. He is assisted by Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture. The minister and parliamentary secretary were appointed following the federal election on 7 September 2013, succeeding the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP and the Hon. Sid Sidebottom MP.
During the first half of 2013–14, the Standing Council on Primary Industries (SCoPI) oversaw a national approach to significant issues affecting Australia’s primary production sectors. SCoPI, chaired by the Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, comprised the portfolio ministers from the state and territory and New Zealand governments.
The Primary Industries Standing Committee (PISC) supported SCoPI. PISC was chaired by the secretary of the department and comprised the department heads or chief executive officers of all Australian and New Zealand government agencies responsible for primary industries policy issues.
On 13 December 2013, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to reduce the number of councils from 22 to eight. SCoPI, along with the subordinate PISC, was one of those discontinued.
The COAG decision provided for ministers to meet their counterparts outside the COAG process on matters of national importance. Consistent with this decision, in May 2014 the Australian, state and territory and New Zealand ministers met to discuss government priorities and issues of national significance. The Agriculture Ministers’ Forum (AGMIN), which is chaired by the Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, agreed to meet face-to-face once a year and for ad hoc meetings as required.
Australian and New Zealand departmental heads and officials with responsibility for primary industries, including fisheries and forestry, agreed to form the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee to support AGMIN as required.
This annual report covers the Department of Agriculture and has been prepared in accordance with the Public Service Act 1999 and the 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 5)
- annual report of the National Residue Survey programme, required under section 10 of the National Residue Survey Administration Act 1992 (see Appendix 6).
Portfolio agencies table their own reports, which are available on their websites.
Changes to disability reporting in annual reports
Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available on the APSC website.
From 2010–11, departments and agencies have no longer been required to report on these functions.
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports will be available in late 2014 on the Department of Social Services website.