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Annual Report 1999-2000Annual Report 1999-2000 home page

ContentsContents > Overviews > Outcome 1: National Interests > Outcome 2: Consular & Passports > Outcome 3: Public Diplomacy > Management > Financial Statements > Appendixes > Glossaries

YOU ARE CURRENTLY AT: Outcome 2 > Output 2.1


Outcome 2: Australians informed about and provided access to consular and passport services in Australia and overseas

OUTPUT 2.1
Consular and passport services

   2.1.1 24-HOUR CONSULAR SERVICES   

EFFECTIVENESS INDICATORS

  • Awareness among Australian travellers of potential trouble spots and understanding of the extent of assistance that can be provided by Australian government officials, indicated by:
    • number of Australians seeking consular assistance compared to the number of Australians travelling overseas; and
    • impact of departmental efforts to maximise dissemination of departmental consular information to consular clients, including travel advice to travellers and the travel industry.
  • Accessibility of consular services, demonstrated by the worldwide availability of consular advice and support through the work of overseas posts, Consular Branch and the 24-hour Consular Operations Centre in Canberra; and through consular cooperation arrangements with other governments (also relates to administered item on Travellers’ Emergency Loans).
  • Responsiveness of the department to consular crises, indicated by departmental handling of specific consular crises.
  • Provision of consular advice and services maximised during the Y2K problem period, especially in countries where Y2K compliance is expected to be low.

   2.1.2 PASSPORT SERVICES   

EFFECTIVENESS INDICATORS

  • Accessibility of passport services, indicated by the availability of passport services and advice through Australian passport offices, the network of overseas posts, the seven-day Australian Passport Information telephone service and the passports website.
  • Client access and services improved by simplifying procedures and processes for issue and renewal of passports in Australia and overseas.
  • Security features of Australian travel documents strengthened.
  • A customer services charter introduced.

Overview

The department provides, through our diplomatic and consular and honorary consul network, consular advice and assistance to Australians travelling overseas and living in other countries, and advice to their families in Australia. These services include assisting Australians who are hospitalised, imprisoned or require assistance overseas, helping family members when Australians die or go missing and, when required, coordinating evacuations from international trouble spots. We are also responsible for implementing bilateral consular agreements with Canada and China.

Under the authority of the Passports Act 1938, the department provides secure travel documents to eligible Australians through passport offices in Australia’s major cities and more than 100 diplomatic and consular missions overseas, including Austrade-managed posts and Canadian missions. Access to passport information is available through the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS), and interview services are also provided through Australia Post outlets.

In the 1999–2000 year:

Figure 17 shows that these figures represent a further step in a longstanding trend of growth in the client base for consular and passport services.

Reviews of consular and passport services

The Government has identified comprehensive and high-quality services to the Australian travelling public as core priorities for the department. During the year, we gauged our success in meeting the Government’s requirements through ‘output pricing’ reviews of the consular and passport services, conducted jointly with the Department of Finance and Administration (see also page 194, Output Pricing Review).

A benchmarking study undertaken as part of the consular review confirmed that while participating governments (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States) offered comparable services, Australia provided the most comprehensive range of consular services at the highest levels of quality. The cost to the Government of Australia’s consular service also compared favourably. An international benchmarking survey of passport services involving the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Germany confirmed that our passport services are very competitive, cost-effective and innovative.

In response to the 57 per cent increase in passport issues between 1995 and 1999, the department negotiated our first Output Pricing Agreement in September 1999 with the Department of Finance and Administration. The agreement provided additional funding of $32 million over three years. Funding is to be adjusted on the basis of actual volume of passports issued each year and includes a requirement for productivity saving of $6 million to be achieved over the life of the agreement.

Figure 17. Annual rate of growth of Australians travelling overseas and number of passports issued

Figure 17. Annual rate of growth of Australians travelling overseas and number of passports issued


YOU ARE CURRENTLY AT: Outcome 2 > Output 2.1

Annual Report 1999-2000Annual Report 1999-2000 home page

ContentsContents > Overviews > Outcome 1: National Interests > Outcome 2: Consular & Passports > Outcome 3: Public Diplomacy > Management > Financial Statements > Appendixes > Glossaries

 

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