What we do

The department’s purpose is to help make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous by promoting and protecting our interests internationally and contributing to global stability and economic growth.

The department provides foreign, trade and development 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 96 overseas posts in five continents and we have over 4200 staff located in Canberra, state and territory offices and overseas posts. An additional 2400 are employed overseas as locally engaged staff.

Our officers are highly skilled at their work which includes developing and implementing foreign, trade and development policy, negotiating international agreements, delivering an effective aid programme, and providing high quality consular assistance. This business is often conducted in one of the 29 foreign languages in which DFAT staff are proficient.