Annual Report 2003-2004

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1. Overviews2. Performance3. Corporate4. Financials5. Appendixes6. Glossaries and Compliance Index

Your location: Performance > Outcome 1 > Output 1.3 > Reporting against effectiveness indicators

OUTPUT 1.3: Services to other agencies in Australia and overseas (including Parliament, state representatives, business and other organisations)

Reporting against effectiveness indicators

On this page: Overview :: Parliament in Australia :: Services to attached agencies :: Services to business :: Services to state governments and other agencies overseas and in Australia






Much of the department's work in providing whole-of-government services to the Government and the Australian community is directed towards protecting and advancing Australia's national interests as reported in output 1.1. Our work on behalf of Commonwealth parliamentarians, state and territory governments, business and other agencies frequently involves the same approach and includes:

Parliament in Australia

The department helped arrange 110 overseas visits for individual Members of Parliament and Senators and for parliamentary delegations. These overseas visits played an important role in establishing and strengthening links between the Australian Parliament and parliaments of other countries. The visits provided opportunities for study and observation of developments in a wide variety of fields relevant to the Australian community.

Our role included giving suggestions and guidance on in-country travel; identifying and making appointments with key people in specific fields of interest; and providing written and oral background briefings on foreign and trade policy matters related to the visits.

Members and Senators have on several occasions commended the department, in Parliament, for the support provided for their visits.

The department helped with 23 visits to Australia by presiding officers, committees and delegations from parliaments of other countries. We provided written briefs and talking points for the presiding officers and members of the Australian Parliament in their meetings with visiting parliamentarians.

Our work for the Parliament included assisting:

The department coordinated, on a whole-of-government basis, briefing on treaties and treaty action prepared for the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. We made submissions and gave evidence to a range of parliamentary committees. Interactions are detailed in Appendix 6.

The department also provided 19 written and oral briefings on foreign and trade policy issues of specific interest in response to requests from individual Members and Senators.

Services to attached agencies

The department provided management services, on a user-pays basis, to 21 Australian government agencies overseas under the Service Level Agreement (SLA). These included management services, financial services, office services and property services for both Australia-based employees and locally engaged staff. The current SLA, introduced in 2001, facilitates the efficient administration of Australian government business overseas while avoiding operational and financial duplication. Under a separate arrangement, Austrade posts have the option of receiving either the full range of management services or essential services only.

The department revised the SLA during the year, in consultation with other agencies. The revised arrangement aims to:

The department proposes that communication services will be covered under a separate MOU with attached agencies. The revised SLA is intended to take effect early in 2004–05. Arrangements are in place for an extension of the current agreement until then. Feedback from our SLA clients has been positive, with current signatories actively engaged in finalising the new agreement.

Photo - See caption below for description
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade, Mrs De-Anne Kelly, and the President and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation of Australia, Mr Ted Okada, celebrate the two-millionth motor vehicle manufactured at Toyota’s Altona plant in Victoria in April 2004. Photo: Courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited
Enlarge image :: Photo gallery

Services to business

The department consulted closely with members of the public and the Australian business community on trade-related matters. We sought public submissions on the negotiations for an Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) and set up a telephone hotline for enquiries and comments.

The Government received some 200 submissions in relation to the negotiation of the AUSFTA, including 69 from industry and professional bodies and companies, 32 from NGOs and 8 from trade unions. These submissions helped to inform the development of the Government's negotiating objectives. In particular, the Government's negotiating objectives took into account concerns expressed in relation to potential negative effects or risks of agreeing in the negotiations to changes to specific domestic policy programs or settings.

From 9 February to end June 2004, the department received nearly 3000 telephone calls on its AUSFTA hotline. Callers asked questions on a wide range of issues, with the most common requests being for greater detail on individual areas of the Agreement, information on the approval process and for copies of the text.

The department supported a range of formal consultative mechanisms designed to ensure Mr Vaile received expert trade policy advice from the business community. These important consultative mechanisms provided forums for consultation, coordination and collaboration on trade and investment issues between the Government, business and the community. These mechanisms included:

The department also undertook a range of informal consultations with representatives of specific industry sectors on developments and Australian negotiating positions in the Doha Round, bilateral FTA negotiations and WTO disputes. We supported a range of senior business representatives who accompanied Mr Vaile to the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancún, particularly from the rural sector given the importance of agriculture in the negotiations. Some members of the WTO Advisory Group, representing the interests of the wider business community, also attended.

Photo - See caption below for description
Australian Ambassador to Jordan, John Tilemann, and Royal Jordanian Air Force test pilot, Captain Mowfaq Khlaileh, stand in front of the ‘Spirit of Hervey Bay,’ the first Seabird Seeker to fly in Jordan. The light surveillance aircraft will be produced in Jordan under a joint venture between Queensland company Seabird Aviation and the King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) entered into in September 2003.
Enlarge image :: Photo gallery

Market information and analysis

The department continued to offer a consultancy service providing statistical information and advice, on a fee-for-service basis, for Australian businesses and researchers interested in overseas markets. The service specialises in trade and economic data, covering Australia's trading and business relationships with over 220 countries and information about the international trade of over 100 countries accounting for around 90 per cent of total world trade.


The department continued to deliver benefits to the business community through our involvement with APEC (see sub-output 1.1.6 for more information) and with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). We improved our interactions with the Australian members of ABAC and instituted measures to elicit business views more efficiently and strategically and to feed these into APEC, including through:

Trade wins—improving market access for Australian exporters

The department continued to help Australian exporters facing market access difficulties overseas. Our advocacy, particularly through our network of overseas missions, was instrumental in improving access for Australian exporters in a wide cross-section of countries and sectors. Key 'trade wins' in 2003–04 included:

Our network

State and territory offices again played an important role in the department's trade advocacy and outreach work in 2003–04. Their strong links with state governments and local industry and business groups allowed for key trade messages to be disseminated to a wide audience. The state and territory offices played a vital role in communicating messages to the Australian community related to important trade policy developments, including the Thailand–Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), the AUSFTA and Mr Vaile's Trade 2004 statement.

Services to state governments and other agencies overseas and in Australia

The department played a significant role supporting visits overseas by state and territory ministers, parliamentarians and officials, Australian government officials and others. Some examples include visits to:

We provided briefings, policy advice and other support for a wide range of Australian government agencies on international aspects of their agendas, activities and programs. This included helping to arrange visit programs, participating in negotiations on bilateral agreements and understandings, and facilitating and providing representation at international meetings. Some examples include:

Open source collection

The Government provided the department with $905 000 in 2003–04, and allocated an additional $4.8 million over the subsequent three years, for the expansion of its Open Source Collection Unit. This significantly strengthened our capacity to provide translations and summaries of news from Indonesian and Pacific broadcast, print and Internet media. We responded to increased demands for information on regional terrorism networks in South-East Asia and for additional coverage of issues such as people smuggling, money laundering and other transnational issues. The growth of the collection function has involved a significant increase in liaison with other government agencies in determining collection priorities.

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2003–2004
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