What we do: our role and assets
The department's role is to advance Australia's national interest. This involves working to strengthen Australia's security and enhance Australia's prosperity.
The department provides foreign and trade policy advice to the government. We work with other government agencies to ensure that Australia's pursuit of its global, regional and bilateral interests is coordinated effectively.
DFAT is the lead agency managing Australia's international presence. We manage a network of 95 overseas posts in five continents and we have over 3600 staff - including locally engaged staff - located in Canberra, state and territory offices and overseas posts.
Our officers are highly skilled at their work which includes developing and implementing foreign and trade policy, negotiating international agreements and delivering high quality consular assistance. This business is often conducted in one of the 29 foreign languages in which DFAT staff are proficient. We have an information, communications and technology (ICT) platform that allows us to transmit classified and unclassified messages quickly across our overseas network.
The department's objective is to reduce the risks and make the most of opportunities for Australia in our regional and global environment. Our purpose is to ensure that our structures - such as procedures for advising ministers, consular contingency planning, passport services, ICT platforms, staff deployment strategies, effective resource management and the scope of overseas representation - are carefully targeted to meet our goals.