The department's corporate priority during 2012–13 was to maintain flexible and effective management of its financial and human resources in response to existing and emerging priorities, while ensuring the highest possible ethical and professional standards.

The department deployed additional personnel to New York, Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Accra to support Australia's UNSC term and in Canberra to prepare for Australia's G20 hosting in 2014. We began preparations for opening a consulate in Chengdu (China) and an embassy in Dakar (Senegal). Managing the department's diplomatic and civilian presence in Afghanistan and Baghdad remained high on the agenda. Support for the Yeosu Expo 2012 was also a priority.

As part of the department's commitment to training and development opportunities, employees participated in more than 300 courses, seminars and workshops over 2012–13. Long-term and short-term language training and proficiency immersion courses were provided to employees and the language introductory program was expanded to include Japanese, Arabic and Indonesian. Despite tight financial circumstances, to maintain a core skill set necessary for a foreign ministry, the language training budget increased to $6 264 633, up 3.3 per cent from 2011–12.