Annual Report 2006-2007

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1. Overviews2. Performance3. Corporate4. Appendixes5. Financials6. 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 :: Incoming delegations :: Services to attached agencies :: Services to business :: Services to state governments and other agencies overseas and in Australia :: Outlook






The department provided high-quality and timely advice and assistance, including through our overseas posts, to parliamentary delegations, Australian government agencies overseas, Australian business and state and territory governments. These efforts helped advocate and advance our key foreign and trade policy goals to a range of important stakeholders and contributed to the achievement of whole of government outcomes.

Parliament in Australia

The department provided high levels of assistance to parliamentarians and ministers by facilitating parliamentary travel, presenting information to parliamentary committees and fulfilling our public accountability responsibilities.

Parliamentary travel

The department promoted relations between the Australian Parliament and those of other countries by assisting with 111 overseas visit programs for individual federal parliamentarians and parliamentary delegations. These visits fostered enhanced links between parliamentary institutions and provided opportunities for parliamentarians to study developments in a range of fields relevant to the Australian community.

We provided advice on in-country travel, identified and scheduled appointments with key officials in specific fields of interest, and provided written and oral background briefings on foreign and trade policy matters relevant to the visits.

Our work for the Parliament included facilitating the following parliamentary delegation visits:

Photo - See caption below for description
Parliamentary delegation to Chile and Peru. Back row (L–R) Senator the Hon. Judith Troeth, the Speaker the Hon. David Hawker MP, and Senator Mark Bishop, at the BHP-Billiton majority owned Escondida mine site in Chile, 16 November 2006.
Enlarge image :: Photo gallery

In addition to supporting visits by parliamentary delegations, the department assisted 66 federal parliamentarians undertaking study tours or attending conferences.

Incoming delegations

The department assisted with 36 visits to Australia by parliamentary delegations from other countries. We also provided timely country briefs and talking points to the Presiding Officers for their use in meetings with visiting parliamentarians.

Parliamentary committees

The department briefed and appeared before a range of parliamentary committees as outlined in Appendix 5.

We answered 219 questions submitted in writing or taken on notice during Estimates hearings, which contained 654 individual sub-questions. This represented a 26.6 per cent increase over the number of questions answered in the previous reporting period.

Questions on notice

The department assisted portfolio ministers prepare accurate and timely responses to 324 written parliamentary Questions on Notice (also known as Questions in Writing). Of these, 251 were received from the House of Representatives and 73 were received from the Senate.

Ministerial submissions and briefing

The department strengthened its capacity to provide high-quality policy advice and briefings for portfolio ministers through further enhancements to the Min-Net ministerial work flow system. During the reporting period, the department produced 2472 ministerial submissions, 424 meeting briefs, 65 cabinet briefs and 19 cabinet submissions.

Ministerial correspondence

The department received and processed 10 405 ministerial letters in 2006–07. Through the provision of high-quality, timely and accurate responses to ministerial correspondence, the department assisted portfolio ministers deliver key messages to the Australian community regarding Government policy on foreign and trade related matters. All responses were provided within the specified timeframe, unless otherwise agreed by ministers’ offices. The department’s Senior Executive closely monitored performance in this area by reviewing a monthly report that detailed the timeliness of responses, the quality of drafting and identified issues of public interest.

Services to attached agencies

Under the Service Level Agreement (SLA) signed on 1 September 2004, the department provides management services, on a user-pays basis, to 24 government departments and agencies with overseas representation. The services include financial, personnel and property management services for Australia-based employees and locally engaged staff in department-managed overseas posts. In accordance with the 2007 Prime Minister’s Directive on the Guidelines for Management of the Australian Government Presence Overseas, the SLA facilitates the efficient administration of Government business overseas. Feedback from our SLA clients has been positive. Under separate memorandums of understanding we also provide information and communications technology services to 31 agencies in Australia and overseas, and payroll services to 12 agencies overseas.

Services to business

The department manages a number of formal and informal mechanisms to enhance opportunities for business to have input into the development of trade policy. We undertook extensive public consultations with industry representatives, state and territory governments, non-government organisations and community groups seeking views on the Government’s World Trade Organization and regional and bilateral free trade agreement negotiations. The formation of the Trade Advisory Council (TAC) during the year provided a further avenue for business to interact directly with the Trade Minister on the international trade and investment environment.

Market information and analysis

The department continued to offer a consultancy service providing statistical information and advice, on a fee-for-service basis, to Australian businesses and researchers interested in overseas markets. The service specialises in trade and economic data on Australia’s trading and business relationships with over 220 countries, as well as wider information on the global trade of over 100 countries (accounting for around 90 per cent of total world trade). The department produced a wide range of statistical publications covering the composition and direction of Australia’s international trade in goods and services, all now available online.

Our network of state and territory offices

Through its network of offices located in all states and the Northern Territory, the department continued to cultivate a close relationship with state and territory governments, providing them with a direct liaison point on foreign and trade policy issues. In 2006–07, the state and territory offices extended their close relationship with governments in their capital cities and coordinated the department’s activities in the states and Northern Territory. In consultation with the department in Canberra and overseas posts, they assisted state premiers and ministers with a number of overseas visit programs.

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, as well as other Australian government officials and federal ministers. By promoting business, tourism, education and people-to-people ties, the department’s support for these visits strengthened Australia’s relationships with key regional partners. Examples include visits to:

Reflecting the importance of whole of government coordination and action in advancing Australian foreign and trade policy interests, the department provided briefings, policy advice and other support for a wide range of Australian government agencies on international aspects of their work. The nature of the assistance provided varied greatly, but included the department arranging visit programs for officials from other agencies, and participating in negotiations on bilateral agreements and providing representation at international meetings on behalf of other government agencies. We worked closely with a range of Australian agencies in relation to:

The department continued to work in partnership with Austrade in Australia and overseas to implement the Government’s trade policy and trade development imperatives. It assisted Austrade with its trade promotion and facilitation roles by: providing high-level representations to governments on behalf of business; liaising closely on arrangements for heads of mission and senior trade commissioner public consultation programs; and joint badging of public diplomacy activities involving both agencies.

Austrade’s governance arrangements changed on 1 July 2006 in accordance with the Review of the Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders (Uhrig Review). The department worked closely with Austrade to implement its change from a board to an executive management governance structure. It also worked closely with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).


The department will continue to provide high-level service to parliamentarians, state governments and other government organisations in delivering whole of government outcomes across our foreign and trade policy interests. We will manage parliamentary and public interest in our work through efficient handling of parliamentary Questions on Notice and ministerial correspondence.

The department will also continue to seek advice from business and provide opportunities for industry input into Australia’s trade negotiating agenda, and in cooperation with other agencies, including Austrade, advocate on behalf of Australian business and exporters at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels, and keep them abreast of relevant trade policy developments.

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