Department of Agriculture (Australia, 2019–20)

From Wikipedia

Department of Agriculture
Coat of Arms of Australia.svg
Department overview
Formed29 May 2019 (2019-05-29) [1]
Preceding Department
Dissolved1 February 2020 (2020-02-01) [2]
Superseding agency
Ministers responsible
Department executive
Child agencies
Website Official website

The Australian Department of Agriculture was an Australian Government department in existence between May 2019 and February 2020, which was responsible for developing and implementing policies and programmes that contribute to strengthening Australia's primary industries, delivering better returns for primary producers at the farm gate, protecting Australia from animal and plant pests and diseases, and improving the health of Australia's rivers and freshwater ecosystems.

Following the appointment of the Second Morrison Ministry in May 2019, Scott Morrison announced David Littleproud's previous ministerial positions were separated, with Bridget McKenzie as Minister for Agriculture and Littleproud as Minister for Water Resources.

The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Daryl Quinlivan, was responsible to the Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie and Minister for Water Resources, The Hon. David Littleproud MP. The Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources is Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck since August 2018. The Assistant Minister to the former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP. [3]

By an administrative order issued on 5 December 2019 and effective from 1 February 2020, [2] the department all functions of the department were merged with the environment functions of the Department of the Environment and Energy, to form the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Secretary Daryl Quinlivan was sacked as a result of the merger. [4]


The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources' vision was to help drive a stronger Australian economy by building a more profitable, more resilient and more sustainable agriculture sector, and by supporting the sustainable and productive management and use of rivers and water resources.

The department's annual reports provided information about its operations and performances in each financial year, and reviews its progress towards its objectives.

The department's Corporate Plan set outs the department's eight strategic objectives. Those identified in the 2016–17 plan included: [5]

  • building successful primary industries
  • supporting agricultural communities
  • expanding agricultural, fisheries and forestry exports
  • sustaining natural resources for longer-term productive primary industries
  • improving water use efficiency and the health of rivers, communities, environmental assets and production systems
  • managing biosecurity and imported food risk
  • building an efficient and capable department
  • being a best practice regulator.

The department strove to build strong relationships and work with governments, industry, importers and exporters, natural resource managers, primary producers, consumers, research and development organisations, rural communities and travellers.

The department employed approximately 4000 full-time equivalent staff, including accountants, animal and meat inspectors, biosecurity officers, economists, information and communication technology (ICT) staff, policy officers, program administrators, researchers, scientists, survey staff and veterinary officers.[ citation needed]

The corporate structure was organised into divisions to support work across a broad range of agricultural, biosecurity, fisheries and forestry and water management activities. [6]

The department was located in regional centres, rural communities and cities throughout Australia. [7] Around 58 per cent of its Australian-based employees worked outside Canberra, in capital cities and regional offices, major airports, mail centres, shipping ports, laboratories and abattoirs.

Globally, the department operated in Bangkok, Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Jakarta, New Delhi, Rome, Seoul, Tokyo and Washington,[ citation needed] to maintain relationships with Australia's trading partners and international organisations.


The department was formed by way of an administrative order issued on 29 May 2019, [1] replacing the previous Department of Agriculture & Water Resources, following the re-election of Scott Morrison as Prime Minister of Australia.

Preceding departments

Operational activities

The department provided specialised policy advice to the Australian Government and delivers a range of policies and programs to:

  • provide evidence-based support for government and industry decision-making
  • help primary producers to gain and maintain access to overseas markets, including administration of export quotas [8]
  • support primary producers and rural communities to be productive and sustainable through grants and other funding support, including drought assistance for farm families and businesses [9] [10]
  • manage Commonwealth fisheries in consultation and develop national approaches to sustainable management of the fishing industry [11]
  • represent Australia’s interests overseas to promote responsible fishing practices and to combat illegal fishing.
  • foster and enable productive, profitable, internationally competitive and sustainable Australian forest and forest products industries [12]
  • help primary industries and producers to adapt and respond to climate change [13]
  • achieve social, economic and environmental benefits through water policy and resource management. [14]

The department took a risk-based approach to safeguarding Australia against animal and plant pests and diseases and helps importers and exporters to meet regulatory requirements by:

  • assessing and inspecting imported animal and plant products and machinery for diseases, pests and weeds
  • setting conditions for imported animal and plant products
  • issuing import and export permits and undertaking certification of goods
  • ensuring compliance through audit, investigation and assurance activities
  • accrediting third parties to undertake activities on its behalf
  • reforming regulation and bureaucracy [15]

The department managed, coordinated and prepared for response actions to national priority pests, diseases and weeds, [16] including:

  • appropriately trained personnel, procedures and practices
  • preparation to act rapidly in response to an outbreak
  • plans and coordinated response activities with other jurisdictions and industries
  • preparation to manage a specific incident or offshore incursion.

The department’s work was grounded in research and science, providing information and analysis on agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries, [17] including:

  • commodity forecasts
  • economic analysis and modelling
  • data and statistics on issues affecting Australian farmers and rural communities
  • biophysical science for biosecurity risk assessment, forecasting and diagnostics.

The department collected and audited primary industry levies for marketing, research and development, animal and plant health, residue testing and emergency response. [18]

The department worked in partnership and collaboration with its clients, stakeholders, governments and the community by engaging with those who had a vested interest in the way it dud business. This engagement consisted of:

  • public consultations on policy, program and operational proposals [19]
  • industry forums
  • international delegations and international forums
  • work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy. [20]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Administrative Order Arrangements" (PDF). Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Administrative Arrangements Order - 5 December 2019" (PDF). Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Ministers". About us. Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Australian Government. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  4. ^ Morrison, Scott. "Media Release: 5 December 2019 - New structure of Government Departments". Prime Minister of Australia. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  5. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Corporate Plan 2016–17 (PDF), Australian Government, archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2016
  6. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Organisational structure, Australian Government
  7. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Contact Us, Australian Government
  8. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Export quotas, Australian Government
  9. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Drought and rural assistance, Australian Government
  10. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Assistance, grants and tenders, Australian Government
  11. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Fisheries, Australian Government
  12. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Forestry, Australian Government
  13. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), A change in climate, Australian Government
  14. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Water policy and resources, Australian Government
  15. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Regulatory reform, Australian Government
  16. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Emergency preparedness and outbreak response, Australian Government
  17. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), ABARES, Australian Government
  18. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Levies, Australian Government
  19. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Public consultations, Australian Government
  20. ^ Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016), Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS), Australian Government

External links