What we do
We work with national and international governments and industry partners to grow the value of agricultural trade and reduce risk to the agricultural sector.
Our department has a diverse role as a policy adviser to government, researcher, program administrator, service provider, market access negotiator and regulator. We work to protect human health and the environment by ensuring the safe movement of people, food and other goods into Australia.
Our work contributes to maintaining and improving market access for our primary producers, encouraging agricultural productivity in our primary industries and supporting sustainable, high-quality natural resources to benefit primary producers and the community.
Our purpose, objectives and performance measures are detailed in our corporate plan.
To achieve our objectives, we:
- provide advice to the Australian Government
- administer Australian Government programmes and legislation
- regulate food and other imported products
- regulate export certification for goods prescribed under the Export Control Act 1982 and related legislation.
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.
Our vision, objectives and priorities are detailed in the department's corporate plan.
Policy advice and programs
We provide specialised policy advice to the Australian Government and deliver a range of projects and programs 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.
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, including:
- 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:
- provide drought assistance and support for farm families and businesses
- manage water policy and resources
- educate rural communities through Landcare
- help primary industries and producers to adapt and respond to climate change.
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.
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, through:
- Have your say - online engagement - public consultations on policy, program and operational proposals
- industry forums
- international delegations and international forums
- work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy.
Corporate and enabling functions
A high-performing organisation requires effective and efficient enterprise-wide services.
These provide the resources to support our performance and put in place the necessary checks and balances to ensure our department meets its legal obligations and the expectations of the government and the community.
To support the work that we do, we provide external and internal services relating to:
- legal and financial services
- governance, business assurance and risk activities
- recruitment and employee services
- property and facilities management
- information and communication technology (ICT)
- advertising and information campaigns and media liaison.