Annual Report 2007-2008

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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 a high level of support to its ministers and parliamentary secretaries, Parliament, presiding officers, parliamentary committees and delegations and individual parliamentarians, both in Australia and overseas. Through these efforts, we advocated and advanced key foreign and trade policy goals to important stakeholders and contributed to whole-of-government outcomes.

Parliament in Australia

The department delivered high-quality services to Parliament, including support for parliamentary travel and briefing presiding officers and other parliamentarians on portfolio issues. We fulfilled our public accountability responsibilities and contributed to public debate about portfolio issues by providing timely and accurate information to parliamentary committees and responses to questions taken on notice. To enhance our services to Parliament, the department updated its internal guidelines on provision of support to ministers and procedures for dealing with parliamentary committees.

Parliamentary travel

The department promoted inter-parliamentary relations by assisting with 65 overseas visits by non-ministerial federal parliamentarians and parliamentary delegations. We organised official programs and provided advice on in-country travel and briefings on key foreign and trade policy issues. There were fewer overseas parliamentary visits in 2007–08 compared with 2006–07 (when the department assisted with 111 visits) due to the Australian general election in November 2007.

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

In addition to supporting visits by parliamentary delegations, the department assisted 49 federal parliamentarians undertaking international study tours or attending conferences.

Incoming delegations

The department assisted with visits to Australia by 14 foreign parliamentary delegations, providing presiding officers with country briefs and talking points for their meetings with visiting parliamentarians.

Parliamentary committees

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

We answered 145 questions submitted in writing or taken on notice during Senate Estimates hearings.

Questions on notice

The department assisted portfolio ministers prepare accurate and timely responses to 51 written parliamentary Questions on Notice (also known as Questions in Writing). Of these, 19 were received from the House of Representatives and 32 were received from the Senate. This was a decline from the previous reporting period due to the prorogation of Parliament for the general election in November 2007.

Ministerial submissions and briefing

The department delivered a high level of support to portfolio ministers and parliamentary secretaries to ensure they were comprehensively briefed and provided with timely and accurate advice regarding portfolio interests. We produced 2495 ministerial submissions (up from 2472 in 2006–07), 446 meeting briefs (up from 424), 72 cabinet briefs (up from 65), and 19 cabinet submissions. Briefs not under submission (4253) also increased.

Following the change of government in November 2007, we briefed incoming ministers and parliamentary secretaries and their staff on the department’s in-house ministerial workflow systems.

We assisted the Australian National Audit Office to develop its revised Better Practice Guide: Agency Management of Parliamentary Workflow.

Ministerial correspondence

Through the provision of high-quality, timely and accurate responses to ministerial correspondence, the department helped portfolio ministers deliver key messages to the public regarding Government policy on foreign and trade related issues. There was a surge in the number of letters to portfolio ministers and parliamentary secretaries following the change of government in November 2007. The department managed this increased workload, providing responses to 8625 items of correspondence within specified timeframes (unless otherwise agreed by ministers’ offices).

Photo - See caption below for description
With assistance from the Australian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on 9 February 2008, teams from Adelaide and Collingwood play an official Australian Football League-National Australia Bank Cup match at Ghantoot Stadium in the desert between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. L–R: Mr Jeremy Bruer, Australian Ambassador to the UAE; HE Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR, Governor of South Australia; Andrew Demetriou, CEO of the AFL; HE Mohammed Al Kindi, the then UAE Minister for the Environment and Water; HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the then UAE Minister for the Economy; the Hon John Brumby MLA, Premier of Victoria. Photo courtesy of Australian Football League
Enlarge image :: Photo gallery

The department’s Senior Executive closely monitored performance in this area by reviewing monthly reports 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 2007, the department provides management services, on a user-pays basis, to 24 government departments and agencies with overseas representation. The services are delivered in accordance with the 2007 Prime Minister’s Directive on the Guidelines for Management of the Australian Government Presence Overseas. The agreement sets out the obligations of the department and other agencies for each category of management service and determines service delivery standards. The services include financial, human resources and property management services for both Australia-based employees and locally engaged staff in departmental-managed posts. Feedback from our SLA clients has been positive. Under separate memorandums of understanding the department also provides information and communications technology services to 33 agencies in Australia and overseas, and payroll services to 11 agencies overseas. For further information see Appendix 8 on page 309.

Services to business

The department provides formal and informal mechanisms for business input into trade policy. It 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, regional and bilateral free trade agreement negotiations.

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 includes 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). We produced a wide range of statistical publications covering the composition and direction of Australia’s international trade in goods and services, all available online.

Our network of state and territory offices

Through our network of offices in all states and the Northern Territory, the department maintained a close relationship with state and territory governments, providing them with a direct liaison point on foreign and trade policy issues. In 2007–08, the state and territory offices extended their close relationship with governments in their capital cities by coordinating a range of activities in the states and Northern Territory. In consultation with the department in Canberra and overseas posts, they assisted state premiers and ministers with overseas visit programs.

Our New South Wales Office

A major priority for the New South Wales State Office (NSWSO) in 2007–08 was the APEC Leaders’ Meeting (APEC 2007). The NSWSO organised a number of outreach events in the lead-up to APEC 2007 and worked closely with the APEC Task Force and NSW Government on all protocol and security aspects of APEC 2007. The consular corps was regularly briefed on developments. The NSWSO also worked closely with church authorities and the NSW Government in preparation for the World Youth Day week of festivities in Sydney in July 2008. The NSWSO was responsible for liaising on protocol issues for non-church VIPs and for putting in place arrangements for reverse consular assistance.

Services to state governments and other agencies overseas and in Australia

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Treasurer, Mr Wayne Swan, meeting with his British counterpart, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Alistair Darling in Edinburgh on 6 June 2008.
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The department played a significant role supporting visits overseas by state and territory ministers, parliamentarians and officials, and other Australian ministers and officials. By promoting business, tourism, education and people-to-people ties, such visits strengthen Australia’s relationships with key foreign partner governments, including at the sub-national level. A large number of state, territory and federal government ministers travelled extensively in 2007–08. These included the following visits:

The department worked in partnership with Austrade in Australia and overseas to implement the Government’s trade policy and trade development agenda. The department’s expertise in these areas is of value to Austrade. The department provided high-level representations to governments on behalf of Australian business; liaised closely with Austrade on arrangements for public consultation programs for heads of mission and Senior Trade Commissioners; and jointly badged public diplomacy activities involving both agencies.


Photo - See caption below for description
Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Julia Gillard, and New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Michael Cullen, at the National War Memorial, Wellington, with Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Mr John Dauth LVO (left), on 14 June 2008. Ms Gillard is leading a delegation of six ministers, including Minister for Trade, Mr Simon Crean, to the fifth Australia–New Zealand Leadership Forum. Photo: New Zealand Defence Force
Enlarge image :: Photo gallery

The department will continue to provide high-level service to federal parliamentarians, parliamentary delegations and committees to ensure they are appropriately apprised of the Government’s foreign and trade policy agenda and supported in endeavours overseas that advance Australia’s interests.

We will manage parliamentary and public interest in our work through efficient handling of parliamentary Questions on Notice, ministerial correspondence and our communications with parliamentary committees.

The department will remain in close contact with business in providing opportunities for industry input into the development of Australia’s trade policy, including its trade negotiating agenda; and in developing programs and services to exporters. We will work with other agencies, including Austrade, to promote the interests of Australian business overseas.



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