Corporate plan 2015 to 2019

​​​​​​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, ​​2015

The Corporate plan 2015 to 2019 provides information to our stakeholders and the wider community on the department’s purpose and how we intend to measure our activities against that purpose. Our performance measures will be reported on in the Annual Performance Statement included in the 2015–16 Annual Report which will be released in October 2016.​​ 2015–16 is the first year in which the corporate plan has been produced in accordance with the Rule under the ​Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013​.​

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Statement of preparation

The corporate plan is a Commonwealth entity requirement under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The plan is prepared in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 and will be acquitted in the 2015–16 Annual Performance Statement contained in the 2015–16 Annual Report. The reporting periods covered by the corporate plan are 2015–16 to 2018–19.

Foreword

Welcome to our updated Corporate Plan, setting out the purpose and activities of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Our department has a diverse role as policy adviser to government, researcher, programme administrator and regulator. Our work contributes to making Australia’s farming, fishing and forest industries resilient and prosperous, to supporting the health, sustainability and productive use of Australia’s water systems, and to safeguarding Australia from animal and plant pests and diseases.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Corporate Plan 2015 to 2019 sets out our approach over the next four years to continue our transformation into a modern regulator of biosecurity and export services, and to remain an influential policy advisor and programme administrator for the Australian Government.

In this plan, we are seeking to measure our performance in a way that provides a clear line of sight between our activities and the achievement of the department’s purpose. While we acknowledge the difficulty in accurately attributing our contribution to the performance of the agriculture and water resources sectors over time, we also recognise the importance of reporting against outcome-based indicators.

The performance measures reflect a mix of qualitative and quantitative measures and we will continue to refine our approach to this manner of reporting.

Our expanded agenda for 2015–16 will see us implement substantial initiatives for the portfolio. These include administering and monitoring the measures announced in the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia; opening the first stage of our state-of-the-art single post-entry quarantine facility in Victoria; bringing the Biosecurity Act 2015 into force; and contributing to the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan and new strategic plan for the Great Artesian Basin.

Implementing these activities will include making substantial changes to the way we operate in the department, strengthening our regulatory decision-making structures, developing innovative strategies that complement our business activities, and improving our efficiency.

As a policy adviser to government, we aim to provide rigorous, evidence-based advice, with a clear focus on whole-of-government priorities. Our policy advice is firmly grounded in research undertaken by our scientists and research economists.
We will continue our reform of service delivery to make it easier for our clients to do business with us. We aim to reduce the regulatory burden we place on our clients while continuing to maintain strong risk management safeguards.

The corporate plan also informs our internal business planning and draws the connection between our strategic priorities and the individual work plans for each of our committed staff members.

We will continue to strive to foster and support a high-performing, professional and capable workforce to achieve our objectives.

Daryl Quinlivan
Secretary

[signed]

​December 2015

Our purpose

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources:

  • provides advice to the Australian Government on how to help our primary industries remain competitive, productive and sustainable into the future
  • provides advice to the government on how best to achieve social, economic and environmental benefits from the use of water resources in the national interest
  • administers government programmes and legislation that support these objectives, including the collection of levies for research, development and marketing
  • regulates the import of food and other goods to ensure that Australia is safeguarded against exotic animal and plant pests and diseases
  • regulates the provision of export certification of agriculture, fish and forest products to meet importing country requirements.

Our outcomes

We have three outcomes:

  • Support more sustainable, productive, internationally competitive and profitable Australian agricultural, food and fibre industries through policies and initiatives that promote better resource management practices, innovation, self-reliance and improved access to international markets.
  • Safeguard Australia’s animal and plant health status to maintain overseas markets and protect the economy and environment from the impact of exotic pests and diseases, through risk assessment inspection and certification and the implementation of emergency response arrangements for Australian agricultural, food and fibre industries.
  • Improve the health of rivers and freshwater ecosystems and water use efficiency through implementing water reforms, and ensuring enhanced sustainability, efficiency and productivity in the management and use of water resources.

The department reports to the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, and Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

The legislative responsibilities of the department are detailed in the Administrative Arrangements Order.

Our vision

To help drive a stronger Australian economy by building a more profitable, more resilient and more sustainable agriculture sector, and supporting the sustainable and productive management and use of rivers and water resources.

Our values

We are impartial, committed to service, accountable, respectful and ethical.

Our objectives

Building successful primary industries

Improve the farm-gate returns for agriculture, fisheries, food and fibre industries.

Supporting agricultural communities

Provide targeted assistance to help primary producers, their families and communities manage adjustment pressures.

Expanding agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports

Maximise returns to primary producers from selling into export markets.

Sustaining natural resources for longer term productive primary industries

Promote stewardship of agricultural land, forests and fisheries to maintain the quality of water and other natural resources, including in times of drought.

Improving water use efficiency and the health of rivers, communities, environmental assets, and production systems

Improve the environmental health of the Murray–Darling Basin consistent with national and international obligations by recovering water, including by prioritising water-saving infrastructure projects.

Help communities, irrigators and businesses to use water resources sustainably and efficiently, consistent with nationally agreed water reforms.

Managing biosecurity and imported food risk

Use evidence-based risk management to ensure the safe movement into and out of Australia of people, animals, plants, food and cargo.

Coordinate emergency responses to exotic pest and disease incursions.

Provide certification of exports to meet importing country requirements.

Being a best practice regulator

Encourage regulators to undertake their functions with the minimum impact necessary to achieve regulatory objectives and to effect positive ongoing and lasting cultural change.

Building an efficient capable department

Focus on performance, deliver our objectives, meet our statutory obligations and parliamentary requirements, and continuously build organisational capability.

Our clients and stakeholders

We work to build strong relationships with our clients and stakeholders:

  • farmers, fishers, foresters, producers, harvesters, processors, water users and consumers
  • businesses and trading partners
  • domestic and international governments
  • importers and exporters
  • rural and regional communities
  • natural resource managers
  • research and development organisations
  • travellers.

Our operating environment

Total agricultural production in Australia is forecast to reach around $57 billion in 2015–16, with agricultural exports forecast to be worth more than $43 billion.

In 2013–14, Australia’s agriculture, fishing and forestry industries employed 312 000 people, with the food and beverage manufacturing industry employing around 223 000 people which represents almost 24 per cent of total manufacturing employment.

Agriculture is a significant manager of Australia’s natural resources and manages 50 per cent of Australia’s land. It contributed around $51 billion to our national economy in 2013–14, or 2 per cent of our GDP, and comprises about 15 per cent of merchandise exports.

To fully realise the opportunities that lie ahead for our portfolio industries we must rise to the challenges the sector faces. These include remaining competitive in domestic and international markets; increasing productivity to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the growing demand for food across the world; and providing profitable returns at the farm gate that will drive continued investment in the sector.

In conjunction with population growth driving global food demand there is the emergence of a new middle class and its corresponding increase in food consumption. Agriculture also faces more discerning and demanding consumers.

The response of the agriculture sector to these emerging trends, and to advances in food and fibre production and transportation, will also determine its future.

External forces, such as fluctuations in the exchange rate, increasingly multifaceted trade flows, and changes resulting from globalisation and the impacts of climate change, add to the complexity of the challenges faced by the portfolio.

Australia faces major challenges in achieving the best outcomes for water users and the environment from water resources that are highly variable and with long-term drying trends in key catchments. Many ongoing impacts on Australia’s inland water environments are legacies of historical land use, pest and weed introduction, and development of our water resources for social and economic activities.

In most southern regions, inland water resources have changed substantially since European settlement, significantly affecting local environments and causing declines in many native species populations. We are working with communities, business and other governments to address these impacts by minimising unsustainable water use and returning water to the environment.

Managing biosecurity risk has become more challenging and complex as the volume of passengers, mail and global trade in imports and exports continues to grow. A major pest or disease outbreak could devastate Australia’s rural economy and impose significant costs on government, industries and individuals.

A strong biosecurity system is critical to Australia’s economy. Freedom from pests and diseases found in other countries provides a competitive advantage for Australia’s agricultural exports and contributes to our clean and green image. Our biosecurity policy reflects community expectations and provides for a high standard of biosecurity that manages risk to a very low level. This does not mean there is no risk but that the risk is very low.

We also need to ensure the department’s financial, workforce and systems capability is sufficient to deliver on the government’s priorities. This is why the department has welcomed the government’s efficiency and deregulation agenda. It has enabled us to cut unnecessary red tape for agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries. In 2014, the government took decisions that, when implemented, will reduce regulation in the agricultural portfolio by $24.5 million for everything from agricultural and veterinary chemicals, to biosecurity and live animal exports. Further reductions are being pursued.

Our priorities

The department’s priorities for 2015–16 are:

  • implementing the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and relevant measures from the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia
  • preparing for the Biosecurity Act 2015 to enter into force on 16 June 2016
  • opening the new post-entry quarantine facility at Mickleham, Victoria
  • implementing revised cost recovery arrangements
  • pursuing market access for Australian exporters, including through the opportunities created by the free trade agreements concluded with Japan, the Republic of Korea and China.
  • implementing the Water Recovery Strategy in the Murray–Darling Basin
  • facilitating the effective operation of the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism in the Murray–Darling Basin in mid-2016
  • negotiating an agreement with the Tasmanian Government for a second tranche of irrigation projects
  • finalising a strategic management plan to continue the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative through to 30 June 2017.

The department will continue to pursue its substantial internal reform agenda so that we:

  • continue to be a trusted, effective and transparent best practice regulator
  • strengthen our capability in intelligence-led, risk and evidence-based decision-making and policy advice
  • continue to build on the success of stakeholder engagement and client participation in our business activities
  • participate in whole-of-government processes to improve our efficiency and effectiveness such as the Functional and Efficiency Review and the Digital Transformation Agenda.

Our performance

Consistent with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, we have developed a departmental performance framework that considers the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of our activities in delivering the government’s programmes and to meet our objectives.

Good performance information provides a clear line of sight between the performance of the department’s activities and the achievement of the department’s purpose. The mix of performance indicators tells the story over time of how our purpose is achieved through our activities.

We have also developed measures under the Australian Government Regulator Performance Framework to drive continuous improvement in our regulatory functions.

The portfolio budget statements (PBS) provide information on resources allocated to specific programmes and measures under each of our strategic themes.

The objectives for the department are set out in this corporate plan. Each objective has clear, focused and measureable statements of what the group of programmes intends to achieve.

Objective: Building successful primary industries

Improve the farm-gate returns for agriculture, fisheries, food and fibre industries.

Performance measures

The department undertakes initiatives designed to help primary industries and producers to become more productive and profitable. Short-term success indicators include an increase in the availability of safe agricultural and veterinary chemicals and efficient and effective levy collection and disbursement. Over time, we will measure success through an increase in the productivity of portfolio industries and through the rate of return on capital invested in portfolio industries being increased or maintained.

Indicators of success for each year in the reporting period:
  • Portfolio industries record an increase in productivity.
  • Rate of return on capital invested across portfolio industries is maintained or increased.
  • Rate of profit for producers and businesses is maintained or increased.
  • Access to water, land, forest and marine resources for primary production is maintained or improved.
  • Improved availability of safe, efficient and effective agricultural and veterinary chemicals.
  • Investment in rural research and development corporation programmes demonstrates positive returns.
  • High level of efficiency in collecting and distributing levies to fund research and development in research and development corporations.
Key activities in 2015–16:
  • Deliver Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives including measures that seek a smarter approach to farming based on a strong research and development system.
  • Provide analysis and advice to the government and external decision-makers on support for portfolio industries to make them more productive, globally competitive and profitable.
  • Support current government priorities including country-of-origin labelling and the relocation of rural research and development corporations.
  • Provide levies collection and distribution services to industry and government.
  • Support industry bodies and research and development corporations to meet statutory and contractual requirements and objectives.
  • Administer, improve and implement reforms in industry regulations in accordance with the government’s agenda.
Specific 2015–16 measures include:
  • 100 per cent of allocated funding under the Research and Development for Profit programme expended in accordance with the agreed timetable.
  • 100 per cent of rural research and development corporations are compliant with statutory and contractual requirements.
  • Less than 5 per cent of quota allocations are rejected because of quota certification failures.
  • Inspections of levy agent records cover at least 30 per cent of levy revenue.
Relevant programmes in the PBS:
  • Programme 1.5: Horticulture Industry
  • Programme 1.6: Wool Industry
  • Programme 1.7: Grains Industry
  • Programme 1.8: Dairy Industry
  • Programme 1.9: Meat and Livestock Industry
  • Programme 1.10: Agricultural Resources

Objective: Supporting agricultural communities

Provide targeted assistance to help primary producers, their families and communities manage adjustment pressures.

Performance measures

The department is responsible for several assistance activities for primary producers (and their businesses) in hardship. Some of these, through mutual obligations for recipients, provide incentives and/or assistance for producers to adopt better-practice approaches to their business management. Other activities provide assistance to help farm businesses through hardship (such as severe drought). Shorter term success indicators include recipients actively undertaking activities to improve their business capability, such as the development of drought management plans, obtaining professional advice, undertaking business management training or the use of seasonal forecasting tools. In the longer term, these activities are designed to result in fewer calls for personal, financial and business assistance for primary producers, their families and communities.

Indicators of success for each year in the reporting period:
  • Primary producers improve their business and personal circumstances through access to financial and business assistance.
  • Recipients of assistance report improved business management skills and increased confidence to make informed business decisions.
  • Funding and grants programmes are delivered according to requirements and have a positive end-of-programme evaluation.
Key activities in 2015–16:
  • Deliver Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives that strengthen our approach to drought and risk management.
  • Provide analysis and advice to government on supporting agricultural communities.
  • Implement measures to help primary producers build their resilience and manage risk, including financial and climate-related issues.
  • Provide concessional loans to farm businesses affected by drought through agreements with state and territory governments.
  • Work with the Department of Human Services to deliver the Farm Household Allowance.
  • Deliver the Rural Financial Counselling Service programme to provide free support to primary producers and rural businesses suffering, or at risk of, financial hardship.
Specific 2015–16 measures include:
  • 100 per cent of current Farm Household Allowance recipients have completed Farm Financial Assessments and Financial Improvement Agreements in the required timeframes.
  • 100 per cent of eligible Local Government Areas have enhanced social and community support available.
  • There are no days of lost service during the transition to new Rural Financial Counselling Service providers.
  • Less than 3 per cent of drought-related concessional loans are in arrears greater than 90 days.
Relevant programmes in the PBS:
  • Programme 1.11: Drought Programmes
  • Programme 1.12: Rural Programmes

Objective: Expanding agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports

Maximise returns to primary producers from selling into export markets.

Performance measures

The department pursues international market access in important and emerging markets for Australia’s agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries through bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement. Short-term success indicators include an increase in exports of those commodities where new or improved market access opportunities have been obtained, and successfully resolving market access issues to enable exports to continue. Over time, we will measure success through an increase in the value of exports in real terms.

Indicators of success for each year in the reporting period:
  • The trend in value of agricultural exports increases in real terms over time.
  • Access to overseas markets accepting Australian agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports is maintained or improved.
  • Increased agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports to countries with which Australia has recently signed a free trade agreement.
  • International standards to support Australian agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports are maintained or improved.
  • Positive industry feedback on agreed market access priorities and the resolution of market access problems.
  • Australia’s international agricultural relationships are upheld.
Key activities in 2015–16:
  • Deliver Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives directed at accessing premium markets.
  • Provide analysis and advice to government and external decision-makers on opportunities for improved international market access.
  • Negotiate with trading partners to maintain, improve or develop new market access opportunities for Australian agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports.
  • Support agricultural working groups, trade delegations, ministerial and other high-level visits between existing and potential trading partners.
  • Deliver government programmes that maintain and improve access to export markets including the placement of additional agricultural counsellors in key overseas markets.
  • Deliver cooperation programmes including the Indonesia–Australia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector.
  • Participate in and influence multilateral standard-setting bodies.
  • Meet reporting and funding obligations under international agreements and with international organisations.
Specific 2015–16 measures include:
  • 100 per cent of membership funds to international organisations are paid in accordance with Australia’s international obligations and statutory requirements.
  • The department actively participates in between 15 and 20 bilateral and multilateral negotiations, meetings and high level visits.
  • 100 per cent of all portfolio statutory reporting obligations under international agreements are met.
Relevant programme in the PBS:
  • Programme 1.13: International Market Access

Objective: Sustaining natural resources for longer term productive primary industries

Promote stewardship of agricultural land, forests and fisheries to maintain the quality of water and other natural resources, including in times of drought.

Performance measures

The department provides assistance through programmes designed to promote the use of sustainable resource management practices. Short-term success indicators include the delivery of programmes to requirements, positive industry feedback on sustainable practices and a positive evaluation at the end of each programme. Over time, we will measure success through an increase in the percentage of businesses using sustainable management practices and the status of the resource base being maintained or improved.

Indicators of success for each year in the reporting period:
  • An increased percentage of agricultural, fisheries and forestry businesses use sustainable management practices.
  • The status of the resource base is maintained or improved.
  • Positive industry feedback on the applicability and usability of better practice information that the department provides.
  • Funding and grants programmes are delivered according to requirements and have positive programme evaluations.
Key activities in 2015–16:
  • Deliver Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
  • Implement the sustainable agriculture outcomes of the National Landcare Programme.
  • Provide analysis and advice to the government and external decision-makers on sustainable management of resources.
  • Compile reports for tabling in Parliament on performance of Regional Forest Agreements.
  • Conduct bilateral negotiations with states on Regional Forest Agreement extensions.
  • Conduct compliance assessments in accordance with the regulatory regime for the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012.
  • Release the National Aquaculture Strategy.
  • Establish national representative bodies for commercial and recreational fishing.
  • Circulate sustainable and better practice information to relevant industries.
Specific 2015–16 measures include:
  • 500 compliance assessments of importers of regulated timber products are undertaken.
  • More than 70 per cent of evaluations under the sustainable agriculture components of the National Landcare Programme are positive.
  • 100 per cent of the sustainable agriculture outcomes of the National Landcare Programme are delivered in accordance with grant guidelines and financial reporting arrangements.
Relevant programmes in the PBS:
  • Programme 1.1: Agriculture Adaptation
  • Programme 1.2: Sustainable Management—Natural Resources
  • Programme 1.3: Forestry Industry
  • Programme 1.4: Fishing Industry

Objective: Improving water use efficiency and the health of rivers, communities, environmental assets, and production systems

Improve the environmental health of the Murray–Darling Basin consistent with national and international obligations by recovering water, including by prioritising water-saving infrastructure projects.

Help communities, irrigators and businesses to use water resources sustainably and efficiently, consistent with nationally agreed water reforms.

Performance measures

The department contributes to enhancing the sustainability and productivity of water systems and improving their overall health.

Short-term success indicators include reaching agreement between governments in implementing the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, negotiating agreements for projects in Tasmania and the Great Artesian Basin, and achieving domestic water savings targets.

Over time, we will measure success through continued water recovery and the level of water efficiency benefits delivered to irrigators.

Indicators of success for each year in the reporting period:
  • Continued water recovery in the Murray–Darling Basin towards bridging the gap from contracted infrastructure projects, water purchases and state activities, consistent with the Water Recovery Strategy.
  • On-farm irrigation infrastructure investments in the Murray–Darling Basin deliver water efficiency benefits to irrigated agriculture.
  • Great Artesian Basin jurisdictions agree on a new strategic management plan which guides the future management of the resource.
Key activities in 2015–16:
  • Deliver Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives to invest in developing the nation’s water infrastructure.
  • Support the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.
  • Finalise a new Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan.
  • By March 2016, negotiate the 2016–2019 Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme Strategic Plan with states and territories to help households choose more water-efficient products.
  • Complete the condition assessment for the Lake Eyre Basin in partnership with Basin jurisdictions to inform a review of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement.
  • Complete and publish a comprehensive update to the National Water Quality Management Strategy and water quality guidelines.
  • Implement the government’s response to the review of the Water Act 2007.
  • Negotiate a funding agreement with Tasmania for implementation of the Tranche 2 irrigation schemes
Specific 2015–16 measures include:
  • Basin governments agree on a package of measures for notification to the Murray–Darling Basin Authority on the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism.
  • A domestic water saving of at least 100 000 megalitres through the effective implementation of the National Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme.
Relevant programmes in the Department of the Environment PBS
  • Programme 4.1: Water Reform
  • Programme 4.2: Commonwealth Environmental Water

Objective: Managing biosecurity and imported food risk

Use evidence-based risk management to ensure the safe movement into and out of Australia of people, animals, plants, food and cargo.

Coordinate emergency responses to exotic pest and disease incursions.

Provide certification of exports to meet importing country requirements.

Performance measures

The department undertakes a range of activities designed to safeguard Australia’s animal and plant health status to maintain overseas markets and to protect human health, the environment and the economy.

We also undertake export inspection and certification services of primary produce. Short-term success indicators include measuring improvements in the effectiveness of interventions along the biosecurity and food import pathway and the accuracy rate of export certificates in meeting importing country requirements. Over time, we will measure success in terms of Australia maintaining a favourable pest and disease status and how well governments, industry and communities respond to exotic pest and disease incursions.

Indicators of success for each year in the reporting period:
  • Australia maintains a favourable pest and disease status.
  • Export certification meets importing country requirements.
  • Effectiveness and efficiency of biosecurity and food interventions on import pathways improves.
  • Third-party rate of compliance with biosecurity and food arrangements improves.
  • Responses to biosecurity and imported food incidents improve.
  • Risk assessments for imported goods use science-based risk analysis drawing on the best available scientific information and advice.
  • The ability of governments, industry and the community to quickly and effectively respond to exotic pest and disease incursions improves.
  • Public awareness of biosecurity risks improves.
Key activities in 2015–16:
  • Deliver Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives directed at a stronger biosecurity system and enhanced traceability systems.
  • Provide analysis and advice to the government and external decision-makers on the management of biosecurity and imported food risk.
  • Provide biosecurity and export certification services.
  • Implement new biosecurity legislation.
  • Implement changes to biosecurity and export certification cost recovery arrangements.
  • Implement the first phase of the transition to a new post-entry quarantine facility.
  • Provide up-to-date reports on Australia’s animal, plant and aquatic health status, as required by international agreements.
  • Support key national surveillance response and diagnostic capabilities.
  • Preparation and coordination for responses to exotic pest and disease incursions.
  • Deliver cooperation projects to the Asia–Pacific region.
Specific 2015–16 measures include:
  • 100 per cent of responses to pest and disease incursions and outbreaks are managed according to relevant frameworks.
  • Less than 1 per cent of export consignments are rejected because of failure to meet export certification requirements.
  • No markets are lost as a consequence of failed departmental certification services.
  • 100 per cent of import risk assessments are conducted in accordance with regulations and the best available science and advice.
  • 100 per cent of priority emergency plans (AUSVETPLAN, AQUAVETPLAN, EMPPLAN and PLANTPLAN) reflect contemporary science of emergency responses to plant and animal pests and diseases.
Relevant programmes in the PBS:
  • Programme 2.1: Biosecurity and Export Services
  • Programme 2.2: Plant and Animal Health

Objective: Being a best practice regulator

The Australian Government Regulator Performance Framework was developed to encourage regulators to undertake their functions with the minimum impact necessary to achieve regulatory objectives and to effect positive ongoing and lasting cultural change.

The department performs a range of functions to achieve its regulatory objectives. The following core regulatory functions are within the scope of the framework:

  • the delivery of biosecurity and export certification
  • the monitoring of imported food
  • the regulation of the importation of timber products and processing of raw logs to combat illegal logging
  • water efficiency and labelling standards
  • the collection of levies for research, development and marketing.

The department will complete a self-assessment against this framework, in consultation with key stakeholders. This will be made publicly available in December of each year.

We will assess our performance against the six key indicators in the Regulator Performance Framework:

  1. Regulators do not unnecessarily impede the efficient operation of regulated entities.
  2. Communication with regulated entities is clear, targeted and effective.
  3. Actions undertaken by regulators are proportionate to the regulatory risk being managed.
  4. Compliance and monitoring approaches are streamlined and coordinated.
  5. Regulators are open and transparent in their dealings with regulated entities.
  6. Regulators actively contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks.

Objective: Building an efficient and capable department

The department undertakes activities that deliver the government’s programmes and achieve its objectives. To function as an efficient and capable organisation we will:

  • Provide scientific and economic research, analysis and advice within the department and to external decision-makers.
  • Manage the department’s people, finance and information and communication technology capability.
  • Implement the government’s deregulation and public management reform agendas.
  • Administer ongoing projects within Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines and deeds of agreement requirement for payments and acquittals.
  • Provide support and coordination services to the minister, the parliamentary secretary and the executive.
  • Provide legal and legislative advice and coordinate the department’s legal services.
  • Provide high-quality and efficient client services.
Indicators of success for the reporting periods 2015–16 to 2018–19:
  • A positive, professional and engaged workforce is maintained or improved.
  • The department maintains safe and healthy workplaces.
  • Stakeholders and clients assess advice and analysis as high quality, evidence-based, accurate and meeting their needs.
  • A risk-based and proportionate approach to compliance obligations and engagement is maintained or improved.
  • A balanced and financially sustainable budget is delivered for the department.
  • Information and communication technologies meet the department’s business needs.
  • Business processes and client services are improved through the better use of modern technology and improved work practices.
  • The delivery of departmental services meet agreed service standards.

Our capability

The capabilities we need to deliver our priorities are built through our finance, people, information and communication technology, and other key departmental strategies.

We are transforming ourselves into a more client-focused, function and service-based organisation.

This transformation includes an organisational design that combines employees performing similar functions into national teams with consideration to the locations in which the work is performed, the services provided and the needs of clients.

Finance

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is a financially responsible Department of State and service delivery organisation. We make investments to maintain and improve service to the government and clients which are consistent with government priorities. We will strive to ensure that cost-recovered services are efficient, transparent, modern and sustainably funded.

Through our Finance Strategy 2014–2019 we are committed to:

  • investing in the strategic priorities of the department to support revenue and business objectives while improving our services and risk management
  • ensuring the department manages within its resources by managing revenue in the short and long term; driving efficiencies by improving workforce productivity and business practices; and maintaining our cash and equity
  • communicating financial information clearly so departmental managers and the public have an accurate, timely and reliable view of the department’s budgetary financial position
  • embedding strong financial governance and controls
  • strengthening and maintaining financial management capability of our staff and our systems.

In 2015–16, activities will include:

  • embedding a benefits realisation framework for investment within the department
  • supporting the modernisation of service delivery processes.

The department recovers a significant amount of its operating costs through cost-recovery fees and charges. This revenue varies according to the level of demand for our services. It also means we are focused on keeping downward pressure on our costs.

People and workforce strategy

The department fosters a culture and capability that strengthens our client focus in the context of the government’s priorities, and in a dynamic and changing workplace.

Our people priorities are:

  • workplace health, safety and rehabilitation
  • participation and productivity
  • performance and change culture
  • Enterprise Agreement
  • workforce capability
  • ethics and workplace environment.

The department’s Strategic Workforce Plan 2015–2018 will drive our workforce capability and flexibility by providing action items and a roadmap to achieve our future people capability.

ICT strategy and enterprise architecture

Information and communication technology (ICT) is a critical component to support the changes we have planned in service delivery and for our ability to provide influential policy advice to government.

Over the period of this corporate plan, we will build on consolidating and stabilising our ICT services. This includes supporting the modernisation of service delivery channels (away from manual processes to digital by default). It also includes an enhanced ability to collaborate with other biosecurity agencies and business to improve leverage off departmental information assets to make better of use analytics to support the department’s objectives. ICT improvements are expected to increase staff productivity and capability. The enterprise architecture is a key component in our transformation of business capability in data analysis and intelligence.

Our ICT priorities include:

  • enhancing the availability and responsiveness of ICT systems and services to business and partners/stakeholders
  • consolidating and rationalising the department’s business application portfolio
  • improving the collaboration capabilities to support the department’s communications between internal and external stakeholders/ users (clients, industry and other agencies)
  • ensuring information and data is managed and accessible as an enterprise asset
  • aligning all ICT systems and capabilities with the enterprise architecture.

In 2015–16 visible changes to the department’s ICT capability will include:

  • providing an online booking capability for post-entry quarantine
  • releasing the new BICON imports conditions database
  • ensuring the ability to make payments to the department online
  • increasing the mobility (and speed of service) of Department of Agriculture staff.

Our governance

Managing our risk

We engage with risk positively and transparently through our Risk Management Policy and Framework. We take a risk-based approach to policy and programme development, and integrate risk management with governance, planning and performance management processes. Engaging with risk allows us to identify opportunities for innovation and ways to improve policy development and service delivery.

The department’s Executive Management Committee, and its sub-committees, consider risks related to their areas of responsibility as part of their charters or terms of reference. This includes:

  • managing strategic risks
  • reviewing risk controls
  • considering financial risks
  • considering risks relating to ICT operations
  • considering legislative and regulatory risks and issues
  • considering human resource risks and issues.

The department also takes a risk-based approach to supporting and enabling functions such as work health and safety, financial management, and fraud and security. Each division develops a risk management plan as part of its annual business plan, and risk management procedures are integrated into project management processes.

The department’s compliance with the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy is confirmed by its rating of ‘Advanced’ (the second highest of the six maturity levels) in the 2015 Comcover Risk Management Benchmarking Survey.

Our fraud control

We seek to ensure honesty, professionalism and fairness in all dealings and manage our potential exposure to fraudulent and corrupt activity.

The department’s Fraud and Corruption Control Plan provides the framework for identifying, deterring, detecting, investigating and reporting fraud and corruption and meeting broader government obligations. Fraud and corruption risk assessments are undertaken biennially to identify risks, treatment strategies, responsibilities, target dates and reporting obligations.

We have a mature programme of internal audit testing that ensures established controls are working to prevent and detect fraud and corruption. The department has a strong culture of probity and adherence to the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct. Senior management demonstrate high standards of professionalism, integrity and ethics to all staff.

All departmental officers complete training in understanding, recognising and reporting fraud and corruption.

In accordance with the Law Enforcement Integrity Legislation Amendment Act 2012, prescribed members of the department are under the jurisdiction of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity’s (ACLEI).

The department investigates allegations of fraud and corruption against the department. Allegations of corruption by staff, not covered by ACLEI jurisdiction, are referred to the Australian Federal Police. Allegations of corrupt behaviour by departmental staff within ACLEI jurisdiction are referred to the Integrity Commissioner. Alleged fraud and other crimes committed by clients and others are investigated by the department’s Enforcement section. Investigations are regularly conducted jointly between a range of partner agencies and the department.

Our assurance process

The Internal Audit and Business Assurance team, and contracted external service providers, work independently of business areas to evaluate the department’s management systems, practices and controls. They provide assurance to senior management on corporate governance and departmental administration.

The team prepares the annual Internal Audit Work Programme, in consultation with senior departmental management and the Audit Committee, to guide departmental activities. The team reviews and provides an updated version as required to the Audit Committee for endorsement. This ensures the programme is relevant and responsive to changes and business risks. The work programme is approved by the secretary.

The Audit Committee provides independent advice and assurance on the department’s accountability and control framework. It verifies and safeguards the integrity of financial and performance reporting frameworks.

The Australian National Audit Office conducts performance and financial statement audits on the department.

Access and availability

This plan is available in HTML and PDF versions on department’s website.

Feedback

The department welcomes comments on the readability and usefulness of this plan.

Postal address:

Corporate Plan
Department of Agriculture
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601

Email:Business Planning
Telephone: 1800 900 090

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