Established under the Australian Trade Commission Act 1985, Austrade is a prescribed agency subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Public Service Act 1999.
We operate as a statutory agency within the portfolio of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with Austrade's Chief Executive Officer reporting directly to the Minister for Trade and Investment.
The Corporate Plan for 2013-14 (PDF) outlines Austrade's strategies and priorities for the coming year.
In August 2011 Austrade commissioned the Australia and New Zealand School of Government’s Institute for Governance (ANZIG) to provide an independent review of its overall governance framework.
ANZIG’s report, available here, concluded that Austrade’s corporate governance structures were of high quality, particularly in the area of anti-corruption training, which represented international best practice.
The report also noted that Austrade had implemented a considered reform program of its business and internal structures, and had created effective frameworks for governance.
The Australian Government has a zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption.
Since 2010, Austrade has undertaken a series of initiatives to ensure all its practices comply with the anti-bribery provisions contained in section 70 of the Australian Criminal Code.
Among these initiatives was a mandatory training program for all staff outlining their responsibilities with respect to the anti-bribery provisions. Transparency International Australia and the Australian Federal Police both reviewed Austrade's training program, which was completed with 100 per cent participation by staff.
Austrade has also updated its policies and client documentation, including its Service Policy Handbook, making it clear in its service proposals, for example, that it cannot assist firms which pay bribes.
In addition Australian businesses operating in international markets are advised of their ethical and legal obligations under Australian law.
Australian businesses also need to be aware of how anti-bribery laws of other countries may apply to them including different laws around facilitation payments.
Austrade's policy is that Austrade officers should not make or arrange facilitation payments. Australian businesses should make every effort to resist making facilitation payments.
Any Austrade official who suspects an individual or a company of being involved in corruption must report the concern to authorities.
Austrade will continue to monitor the quality and effectiveness of its corporate governance framework.