Secretary and Deputy Secretaries of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. [DFAT/Linda Roche/]

The executive, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (as at 30 June 2016).( L. to R.): (front) Deputy Secretary Ewen McDonald, Secretary Peter Varghese AO, Deputy Secretary Jennifer Rawson PSM; (back) Deputy Secretaries Justin Brown PSM, Gary Quinlan AO and Ric Wells. [DFAT/Linda Roche]

Departmental Overview

The department’s purpose (as included in the Corporate Plan 2015–2019) states:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade works to make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous by promoting and protecting our interests internationally and contributing to global stability and economic growth, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region.

In fulfilling this purpose, the department supports ministers in the delivery of Australia’s foreign, trade and investment and development policy priorities.

Australia has global interests, with a strong focus on the Indo–Pacific region. The department helps the Government shape the international environment through strong bilateral relationships, coalition-building with other nations with common interests, and an activist approach to using regional and global institutions and forums to create rules and norms that promote stability, peace and prosperity.

The department works to maintain and open up new access to markets and generate conditions for increased trade and investment to strengthen Australia’s economy and create new higher-paying jobs. We negotiate priority bilateral and regional trade agreements and contribute to plurilateral and multilateral trade negotiations.

We help lift economic growth, build regional stability and reduce poverty through Australia’s innovative aid program focused on the Indo–Pacific region.

The department projects a positive image of Australia as a preferred destination for business, investment, tourism and study. We provide high-quality consular services, responsive travel advice and a secure and efficient passport service to the ever increasing numbers of Australians travelling overseas. We also lead the Government’s response to international crises, including humanitarian disasters.

The department recognises that gender equality and women’s empowerment are important to Australia’s national interest and this is a priority across all of our work.

We use Australia’s network of embassies, high commissions, consulates-general and multilateral missions to deliver on our objectives overseas. Our network of honorary consuls provides consular assistance to Australians in locations where the Australian Government does not have other representation. (See Appendix 13.)

At home, we work through our state and territory offices, supporting Australian business and citizens working or travelling overseas. We also provide high-quality protocol services to diplomatic and consular missions and international organisations accredited to Australia.

The department depends on a highly skilled, flexible workforce capable of developing and implementing international policy, negotiating international agreements, delivering an effective aid program and providing high-quality consular and passports services.

The Secretary and five deputy secretaries constitute the department’s executive. Supported by the senior executive service, the executive provides management and leadership across the department’s work in Australia and overseas. The executive is also responsible for the department’s governance and the promotion of its priorities and values, guided by our Corporate Plan and Values Statement. The department’s organisational structure is outlined in Figure 1 and our Portfolio Budget Statements 2015–16 outcomes and programs structure is outlined in Figure 2.

Figure 1: Organisational structure (as at 30 June 2016)
Figure 2: Outcomes and programs structure 2015–16*

* Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio Budget Statements 2015–16 and Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2015–16.

Structure of the
Foreign Affairs and
Trade Portfolio

The foreign affairs and trade portfolio supported the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Trade and Investment, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and the Minister for Tourism and International Education (and the Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment) to advance Australia’s foreign, trade and investment, and development policy.

Six agencies make up the portfolio:

  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)
  • Tourism Australia
  • Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • Export Finance and Insurance
    Corporation (Efic)

NB: Efic is not subject to outcome reporting under the Portfolio Budget Statements 2015–16.

Figure 3: Foreign affairs and trade portfolio structure and outcomes (as at 30 June 2016)
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