What we do

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, 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.