Annual reports of agencies
This chapter examines, in greater detail, the annual reports that have
been received during the period 1 November 2012 to 30 April 2013. While it is
usual practice for selected reports to be examined, the committee decided to
examine all eleven annual reports received from the Agriculture, Fisheries and
Cotton Research and Development Corporation
The CRDC lists its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in table format,
which identifies whether indicators were achieved, partially achieved, or not
achieved. For KPIs that were either partially achieved or not achieved, CRDC
has provided an explanation as to why. The committee notes that a majority of
the CRDC's KPIs were achieved.
The committee is pleased to note that, following comments made in its
previous reports, the CRDC has improved its reporting under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), the Environmental Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EBPC Act) and the Work Health and
Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).
Reporting under the EPBC Act contains information in a helpful table, which
includes examples of research initiatives that provide measurable
environmental, economic and social benefits to the cotton industry and the
The CRDC has provided an informative executive summary covering the
operating context, financial performance, and the corporate operations of the
The committee notes that the cotton crop in 2011–12 produced five million
bales, which exceeded the previous record of four million bales.
The committee notes the following research and development highlights
the Cotton Industry Succession and Professional Development–A
review of Employer and Industry Needs in the Agribusiness Sector was
a new project commenced with the Rural Innovation Research Group
at the University of Melbourne and the Workplace Research Centre at the
University of Sydney to establish a workforce development plan for the cotton
the Australian cotton industry water story–A decade of
research and development was published.
The committee considers the CRDC's report on performance to be of a very
high standard, and commends the CRDC for consistently producing clear, concise
and well-constructed annual reports over a number of years.
Fisheries Research and Development
The FRDC has again provided a helpful compliance index that includes
separate sections for the different reporting requirements. The committee is
pleased to note that, following comments in previous reports, the compliance
index is more closely aligned with the reporting requirements in the Primary
Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989 (PIERD Act).
The FRDC has also made explicit directors' responsibilities under section 9 of
the Commonwealth Agencies and Companies Act 1997 (the CAC Act) for the
preparation and content of the report of operations. FRDC also specified in its
report that the report was made in accordance with a resolution of the
The committee is disappointed to note that the FRDC has not improved its
reporting on performance, despite comments in previous reports. The report on
performance is presented in tables with a column titled 'achievements', which
provides a description of the activities involved and does not contain an
assessment of performance. The committee reminds the FRDC that an assessment on
the effectiveness of operations should also be included.
The FRDC reported that the future of the aquaculture industry is
uncertain due to the public perception of the global industry's overall
sustainability. In response, the FRDC Board announced the four following
industry unity—developing consensus on fishing and aquaculture through
unified messages on key science issues;
media relations—providing the FRDC's science outputs in a format better
suited for media use;
community relations—engaging with regional and urban communities to
showcase positive science stories; and
stakeholder advocacy—to work with both allies and detractors to develop
an agreed 'common language' on issues where there are differences of opinion on
the scientific evidence.
Grains Research and Development
The committee found the GRDC's report to be informative and very well
presented. The compliance index is helpfully grouped according to legislative
reporting requirements, which the committee finds helpful when assessing GRDC's
The committee notes the commencement of GRDC's new strategic Research
and Development (R&D) Plan for 2012-17. The Plan has six core themes:
meeting market requirements;
improving crop yield;
protecting your crop;
advancing profitable farming systems;
improving your farm's resource base; and
building skills and capacity.
The committee notes GRDC's first phone application (app), The Weeds:
the Ute Guide, which was launched at a committee meeting of the National
Integrated Weed Management Initiative in Adelaide in November 2011. The GRDC
reported that the app includes the most common annual, biannual and perennial
weeds of the southern and western grain-growing regions. It also contains a
calendar for each weed, which shows the time of the year the weed is likely to
be present in the paddock and where possible, photographs of the weed at
various growth stages to assist with identification.
Grape and Wine Research Development
The GWRDC has provided an informative report. The committee observed
that the layout of report reduced the readability of the report and suggests
minimising the use of columns in future reports.
The committee is pleased to note that, following comments in its
previous report, GWRDC has included, within the corporate governance section,
the attendance of directors at board committee meetings.
The committee notes that the Wine Grape Growers Association and the
Winemakers' Federation of Australia jointly proposed to merge GWRDC with Wine
Australia Corporation to create a single statutory authority. The GWRDC
reported in in the Executive Director's overview that:
...the GWRDC Board supported the merger while identifying the need
for a continued focus on the management of and investment in RD&E across
the whole value chain.
The proposed merger of GWRDC and Wine Australia was approved on
10 December 2012 by the then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry, Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig. It is anticipated that the merged entity
will be operational from July 2014.
The committee notes that the grape yields for 2011 were lower due to the
south east region receiving heavy and prolonged rainfalls late in the session,
which resulted in fewer bunches and smaller sized fruit.
Rural Industries Research and
Development Corporation (RIRDC)
The committee is pleased to note that the RIRDC's reporting under the
EPBC Act, FOI Act and the National Disability Strategy is of a high standard.
The committee also notes that RIRDC consulted with the Australian
Government and industry stakeholders to develop the new Corporate Plan 2012-17.
From consultations, the following priority areas were identified:
the importance of productivity growth to support rural industry
profit and sustainability;
the need to identify emerging issues and coordinate research into
the impact on the rural sector;
ensuring new industry (and innovation) potential is explored in a
rigorous way and knowledge gained is shared;
applying a life-cycle approach to supporting rural industries;
collaborating to respond to cross sector research development and
extension (RD&E) needs;
supporting new industries;
maintaining and building rural research capacity;
investing in rural sector people; and
enhancing the adoption of RD&E.
The RIRDC reported that three overarching goals were also set to guide
investment and delivery against the priorities contained in the 2012–17
Corporate Plan. The goals are:
promote leadership and innovation in the rural sector;
increase profit and productivity in rural industries; and
enhance sustainability across the rural sector.
The committee commends the RIRDC for its comprehensive review of its
functions, activities, and outcomes in its annual report for 2011–12. The use
of tables and graphs presented the information in a logical and easy to
Sugar Research and Development
The committee notes that the SRDC has comprehensively reported on the
factors, trends and events that influenced its performance in 2011–12 and has
included an overview of future challenges and opportunities.
The committee is disappointed to find that, following comments made in
its previous reports, the SRDC has again provided an incomplete compliance
index, without which the committee finds it difficult to assess whether or not
all reporting requirements have been met.
The committee is also disappointed to note that the SRDC has not
fulfilled its reporting requirements under the FOI Act. The SRDC has not
included the Information Publication Scheme statement. The committee encourages
the SRDC to look carefully at the reporting requirements under this legislation
when compiling upcoming reports.
The SRDC reported that a new Research, Development and Extension Plan
for 2012–17 was developed and approved on 30 June 2012 by the then Minister for
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry the Hon Senator Joe Ludwig.
Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)
AFMA has provided a comprehensive overview of the major factors likely
to impact on fisheries management over the next four years, which included:
global economic pressures;
the cost effectiveness of fisheries management;
climate change; and
Australian fish stock levels.
The committee notes that on 3 February 2012, AFMA marked its 20th
anniversary. AFMA reported that during the 20 years it has observed many
changes; including the move away from single species management of major
fisheries to the current statutory management plans with output controlled
AFMA reported that the Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery was
the most valuable commercial fishery in the Torres Strait during 2011 with 704
The committee is pleased to again note that AFMA's compliance index is
well presented and is helpfully separated by legislative reporting
The committee commends AFMA on its consistently high standard of
reporting, including under the FOI, EPBC and WHS Acts. AFMA's report on
performance is thorough, well-structured and contains relevant case studies.
AFMA uses a tick symbol to indicate whether the performance indicators have
been achieved, and provide explanations when targets have not been met.
Australian Pesticides and
Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
The committee notes that Ms Bennet-Jenkins' term as Chief Executive
Officer expired at the end of 2012.
Ms Kareena Arthy was appointed for a five year term on
18 December 2012 by the then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig.
The committee is pleased to note that, following comments in its
previous report, APVMA has tabulated its performance reporting data, which has
improved the readability of the APVMA report.
However, the committee is disappointed to note that the APVMA compliance
index states that it has been prepared in accordance with the Requirements
for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies
(Requirements for Annual Reports), as revised by the Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) in July 2011.
The committee reminds APVMA that the Requirements for Annual Reports are
revised annually by PM&C, with the current Requirements for Annual Reports
released by PM&C in June 2012. It is the committee's opinion that
reporting agencies remain up to date with changes to the Requirements for
Finally, the committee notes that a number of errors were found in
APVMA's compliance index, including referencing incorrect pages numbers.
Nonetheless, the omissions were not so problematic to the committee that it had
difficulty assessing the report against the relevant requirements.
Wheat Exports Australia (WEA)
The committee notes that this is WEA's last annual report, as Parliament
passed the Wheat Export Marketing Amendment Bill 2012, which will
transition the wheat export industry to full deregulation. The Wheat Export
Accreditation Scheme and the Wheat Export Charge were abolished on 10 December
2012 and WEA ceased operating on 31 December 2012.
The legislative changes were as a result of the Australian Government's
response to the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into Wheat Export Marketing
Arrangements. The Australian Government agreed with the Productivity
Commission's recommendations and proposed a three stage approach to the full
deregulation of the wheat industry. The three stages are:
the application of a 'lighter-touch' Scheme from October 2011;
the abolition of the Wheat Export Accreditation Scheme and the Wheat
Export Charge on 30 September 2012, with the winding-up of the WEA by 31
December 2012; and
the establishment of a voluntary code of conduct by
30 September 2014 prescribing continuous disclosure rules for port
terminal operators that export wheat.
The committee notes that WEA's report on performance has again been
fulfilled to a high standard. WEA's reporting on performance is helpfully
presented in tabular form allowing for comparisons to be made between targets
and actual performance.
WEA reported a record national wheat crop of 29.5 million tonnes for the
2011-12 growing season of which 20.4 million tonnes of wheat was exported to
34 countries, including Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam.
Australian Livestock Export
Corporation Limited (LiveCorp)
The LiveCorp Annual Report 2011-12 was prepared in accordance to
the requirements set out in the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act
1997 and the Corporations Act 2001.
LiveCorp reported that 2011-12 was '...a time of significant challenge,
development and opportunity for the livestock export industry', which included:
- the suspension of cattle trade to Indonesia;
the implementation of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System
declining number of livestock exports to all markets;
declining revenue base; and
staffing changes in the Chief Executive Officer position.
The committee notes that the ESCAS framework was initially implemented
for cattle exported to Indonesia in June 2011. By the end of 2012, the ESCAS
framework was to be applied to all markets taking Australian livestock. Under
the ESCAS framework, Australian exporters must seek a permit to export
livestock for slaughter and show that:
animals will be handled and processed through the specified
supply chains in accordance with the requirements for animal welfare
established by the World Organisation for Animal Health;
they have control of the movement of animals within the supply
they can track or account for animals throughout the supply
they have independent audits of the supply chain, both prior to
shipment and after the arrival of the animals.
LiveCorp reported that the export volumes of both cattle and sheep
dropped during 2011-12 due to the suspension of the cattle trade to Indonesia,
increased competition from exporting nations, the high Australian dollar and
the implementation of the ESCAS framework.
The committee notes that 684 855 cattle were exported in 2011-12,
which represented an overall decline of 15 per cent compared to
2010-11. Cattle export volumes to Indonesia and Turkey were
18 per cent and 64 per cent lower respectively compared to
2010-11, due to the suspension of cattle trade and increased global
In comparison, the committee notes that 2.6 million sheep were
exported in 2011-12, which represented an overall decline of
12 per cent compared to 2010-11. The decline in sheep export volumes
predominantly occurred in the Middle East and North Africa region, with Oman,
the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey reduced their sheep
volumes by on average 28 per cent compared to 2010-11. LiveCorp
reported that this reduction was partially offset by Qatar and Jordon
increasing their imports for 2011-12 by 45 per cent and
64 per cent respectively.
Dairy Australia Limited
The Dairy Australia Limited Annual Report 2011-12 has been
prepared in accordance to the requirements set out in the Dairy Produce Act
1986 and the Corporations Act 2001.
The committee encourages Dairy Australia Limited to comply with the Printing
standards for documents presented to Parliament, which specify that all
documents to be presented in Parliament must be printed in international B5
The committee notes that national milk production in 2011-12 increased
by 4.2 per cent to 9.48 billion litres, which is the highest
annual growth rate in a decade. Dairy Australia Limited reported that this
productivity positioned dairy as the
third-largest rural industry in Australia.
The committee commends Dairy Australia Limited for its reporting on
performance, which is to a high standard. The report on performance is
presented clearly in table format along with the program objective, the amount
invested for each strategic objective in 2011-12 and actual performance against
the Annual Operating Plan 2011-12.
Dairy Australia Limited launched the Dairy and Sports Performance
project to promote the nutritional benefits to physically active 18 to 35 year
olds using a range of marketing and communication initiatives. Research
indicates that 18 to 35 years old consumers typically consume 1.3 serves of
dairy per day, which is below the recommended intake of three serves a day.
Dairy Australia in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Sport, the
Australian Football League (AFL) Victoria and Sports Dietitians Australia
launched the 'Milk the Moment' campaign and the 'Powered by Milk campaign.
The Dairy and Sports Performance project will continue with an
additional campaign designed to reach parents of primary school-aged children.
Dairy Australia Limited reported that the campaign has already been initiated
through the AFL Victoria Auskick Program.
The committee has found, under the terms of standing order 25(20), that
all but two of the reports described here are apparently satisfactory. In
making this assessment, the committee considers compliance with relevant
reporting requirements. The committee encourages the Australian Pesticides and
Veterinary Medicines Authority and the Sugar Research and Development
Corporation to ensure their future annual reports are compliant with the
relevant reporting requirements.
Senator Bill Heffernan
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