Annex: E1 - Joint communications


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An Annex to the Memorandum of Understanding on the collaborative working relationships between the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Table of contents ​

  1. Status of the annex
  2. Objectives
  3. Key principles
  4. Governance and reporting
  5. Costs
  6. Procedural material 
  7. Nominated contacts
  8. Review of annex
  9. Commencement
  10. Definitions
  11. Modification and termination
  12. Signatures

  • Status of the annex

    1.1 This Annex is made in accordance with clauses 6 and 10 of the Memorandum of Understanding (Memorandum) between the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs and Border Protection) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

    1.2 The Parties view this Annex as:

    1. not intending to create any legally binding obligations; and
    2. an opportunity to ensure that there is a nationally consistent approach to their working relationship on specific matters outlined in this Annex.

    1.3 This Annex supersedes all prior arrangements in relation to communications between the Parties. 

  • Objectives

    2.1 DAFF and Customs and Border Protection will engage in joint communication activities, with the following objectives to:

    1. deliver consistent, whole of government messages about border protection and management to target audiences  to support operations;
    2. deliver more effective communication by reducing duplication of messages and streamlining information for audiences;
    3. raise awareness and understanding amongst target audiences of Australian border management activities, roles and responsibilities as measured by agency market research and other evaluation activities;
    4. support target audiences in complying with customs and biosecurity laws and processes as measured by seizure rates and other operational data;
    5. maintain and build positive attitudes and compliant behaviour in relation to Australian border protection as measured by agency market research and other evaluation activities;
    6. more efficiently manage communication resources by sharing information, expertise and costs across joint activities; and
    7. support our workforces through shared, consistent and coordinated messages about decisions, issues and changes that affect them.  

    3.1 DAFF and Customs and Border Protection communications will align with the principles contained in Ahead of the game: a blueprint for the reform of Australian Government administration (2010). Those principles mean our communications will focus on:

    1. forging a stronger relationship with citizens through better delivery of services and through greater involvement;
    2. introducing a stronger focus on efficiency and quality to ensure that agencies are agile, capable and effective; and
    3. strengthening the strategic, big picture policy and delivery advice that addresses the most difficult policy challenges of the day.

    3.2 This Annex governs the joint communication strategy of the Parties in accordance with the following principles: 

    1. communication is audience-centric – we recognise the communication needs and preferences of our stakeholders and audiences, and messages, products and channels are aligned with target groups. Our communication proactively goes to our audiences– we do not expect them to have to come to us;
    2. communication will be underpinned by the principles of rights and responsibilities, as well as justice, equity and transparency;
    3. communication considers psychographic characteristics (emotional and behavioural characteristics, such as motivation and willingness to comply) as well as traditional demographic considerations – we acknowledge and enable our advocates and champions and aim to move passive and non-complying audiences and stakeholders into willing participants;
    4. we do not do all the communicating – we recognise that our stakeholders are our partners in communication—messages from them can sometimes be more effective—and that where we can we will use the channels of others to communicate our messages;
    5. our communication has a clear and consistent call to action – we always let our audiences know what they need to do and where they can get more information;
    6. internal communication is as important as external communication – when we say something externally we say it internally first; and
    7. our communication is based on evidence and research, and is evaluated. 
  • Key principles

  • Governance and reporting

    4.1 The DAFF - Customs and Border Protection Strategic Working Group (SWG) will oversight the implementation of the obligations under this Annex.    

    4.2 The DAFF Communication Branch and Customs and Border Protection Communication Section will work together to implement the joint communication strategy between the two agencies, coordinate matters between them and ensure that appropriate reporting to the Executive of each agency and the SWG occurs as needed. They will also:

    1. meet at such intervals as agreed between them; and
    2. consult on issues that arise in the arrangements made between them to ensure these are effective and meet the obligations under this Annex. 
  • Costs

    5.1 In accordance with clause 9 of the MOU, the Parties agree that each will bear their own costs in fulfilling their commitments under this Annex except where a prior written agreement has been reached by both Parties as to their sharing or apportionment. 

  •  Procedural material

    6.1 The Parties may develop Procedural Material consistent with this Annex. This may include any issues arising from the joint communication strategy between the Parties. 

  • Nominated contacts 

    7.1 Each Party may raise matters relevant to communications with the following nominated contacts:

    1. Customs and Border Protection –
      The National Manager Corporate Governance and International Strategy. 
      (Tel: 02 6275 6078)
    2. DAFF –
      Assistant Secretary, Communication Branch
      DAFF Switchboard Ph: +61 2 6272 3933 
  • Review of annex

    8.1 The Parties will review the operation of this Annex three (3) years after commencement or at such other time as mutually determined by the Parties to assess the suitability of arrangements under this Annex.

  • Commencement

    9.1 This Annex commences, unless otherwise specified, on:

    1. the date it is signed by both agencies; or
    2. the date the last agency signs, where the agencies do not sign this Annex on the same day. 
  • Definitions

    10.1 Unless the contrary intention appears, a term used in this Annex has the meaning shown in the table below:

    • Annex - means an Annex made in accordance with the Memorandum
    • Commonwealth - means the Commonwealth of Australia
    • Memorandum - means the Memorandum of Understanding on the collaborative working relationship between the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry signed on 21 July 2011
    • Procedural Material - includes Standard Operating Procedures, Instructions and Guidelines or Business Practice Statements or any procedural material made in accordance with this Annex.
  • Modification and termination  

    11.1 This Annex can be modified or terminated by a written agreement signed by the Chief Executive Officer of Customs and Border Protection and the Secretary of DAFF or their delegates.

    11.2 Unless otherwise specified, a modification or termination:

    1. takes effect from the date the last party signs the modification or termination; and
    2. has no effect unless endorsed in accordance with this clause. 
  • Signatures 

    SIGNED at Canberra
    for and on behalf of the
    Australian Customs and Border Protection Service by

    Richard Willcock
    National Director
    Strategy, Risk & Coordination  


    SIGNED at Canberra
    for and on behalf of the
    Department of Agriculture,
    Fisheries and Forestry by

    Jenny Barbour
    A/g First Assistant Secretary,
    Government Division


Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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