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About Austrade

Purpose

During 2017–18, the purpose of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission—Austrade was to contribute to Australia’s economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, and governments to:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia’s tourism industry.

Austrade also helps Australian citizens by providing consular and passport services in designated overseas locations.

Austrade advances Australia’s international trade, education, investment and tourism interests by providing information, advice and services. We aim to create value for businesses and institutions in a way that represents a good investment for the taxpayer and meets or exceeds all appropriate standards of ethical behaviour.

Austrade's functions

Promoting Australian trade internationally—Austrade helps Australian companies to grow their business in international markets, including through the administration of the Export Market Development Grants scheme and the TradeStart network.

Promoting Australian education internationally—Austrade promotes the Australian education and training sector in international markets and works with institutions and industry stakeholders to grow demand for Australian education and training.

Attracting foreign direct investment to Australia—Austrade provides coordinated government assistance at a national level to promote, attract and facilitate productive foreign direct investment into Australia.

Strengthening Australia's tourism industry—Austrade develops policy, manages programs and provides research to support Australia's tourism industry and to grow Australia's tourism market share.

Working across government—Austrade delivers advice to the Australian Government on its trade, tourism, international education and training, and investment policy agendas.

Promoting Australia through online channels, media and marketing—Austrade’s objectives are supported by its marketing activities, including management of the nation branding program, Australia Unlimited, administration of Austrade’s websites and business communications, as well as related market research and major events.

Delivering consular services—Austrade provides Australian consular, passport and other government services in designated overseas locations in support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's consular network.

An extensive network

At 30 June 2018, Austrade’s network comprised 122 locations, including 10 offices in major Australian centres, complemented by 28 TradeStart offices, and 84 locations overseas in 49 different markets. Fourteen of the locations overseas also provided consular services in locations where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not have a presence. In September 2017, consular and passport responsibilities for Istanbul, Turkey, transferred to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. During the transition, Austrade continued to provide assistance with the delivery of consular services, and will continue to operate an office there.

Austrade also operated Landing Pads in Shanghai, Berlin, Singapore, San Francisco and Tel Aviv. Landing Pads are designed to provide market-ready Australian startups with a shortterm operational base in global innovation hotspots. For more information on Austrade’s Landing Pads, see pages 83–84. Austrade’s Australian and overseas locations are shown in Figure 2 on pages 6–7.

Legislation

Austrade was established by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission Act 1985. It is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, and a statutory agency under the Public Service Act 1999. Austrade is part of the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio.

Ministerial responsibility

Austrade’s CEO reports to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. The Hon Steven Ciobo MP held that position for the duration of the reporting year.

During the reporting period, three people occupied the position of Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment: the Hon Keith Pitt MP from 1 July 2017 until 20 December 2017; the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP from 20 December 2017 until 5 March 2018; and the Hon Mark Coulton MP from 5 March 2018 until 30 June 2018.

A professional workforce

Austrade has a highly educated, culturally diverse workforce, with a mix of private and public sector experience. A selection of staff profiles highlighting this diversity and experience are featured throughout this report.

At 30 June 2018, Austrade employed 1,049 staff, 66 per cent of whom were employed in clientfocused operations in Australia and overseas. For more information on Austrade’s staffing, see pages 135–148.

Financial performance

In 2017–18, Austrade continued to maintain an effective financial management framework and achieved improvements in practices and processes. In the independent auditor’s report, which can be found on pages 156–157, the Australian National Audit Office has provided its opinion that Austrade’s 2017–18 financial statements fairly present the agency’s financial position and financial performance, and are free from material misstatement.

Further analysis of Austrade’s financial position is provided in the Chief Financial Officer’s review on page 12, and in the financial statements in Part 4 of this report.

Maintaining high levels of service

Each year, Austrade undertakes a comprehensive Service Improvement Study to assess service delivery and identify areas for improvement in its services to Australian organisations. The study is conducted independently and results are delivered quarterly.

In 2017–18, the Service Improvement Study found 89 per cent of Austrade’s clients were satisfied with their dealings with the agency during the past 12 months. This result reflects the strong client service culture that exists within Austrade. For more information, see page 57.

Austrade also conducts regular surveys of seminar and minister-led business mission participants to improve service delivery in these areas.

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