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About Austrade

Our purpose

During 2019–20, the purpose of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission—Austrade—was to deliver quality trade and investment services to businesses to grow Australia’s prosperity.

The services we provide reflect the changing needs of our clients. These services include generating and providing market information and insights, promoting Australian capability, and facilitating connections through our extensive global network.

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

An extensive network

At 30 June 2020, Austrade’s network comprised 111 locations, including 10 offices in major Australian centres, complemented by 32 TradeStart offices, and 69 different locations overseas. Eleven of the locations overseas also provided consular services in locations where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not have a presence.

Austrade operated Landing Pads in Shanghai, Berlin, Singapore, San Francisco and Tel Aviv. Landing Pads are designed to provide market-ready Australian startups with a short-term operational base in global innovation hotspots. Austrade also operates the Australian Trade and Defence Office in West Jerusalem. Austrade’s Australian and overseas locations are shown in Figure 1.


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 chief executive officer (CEO) reports to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, who held this position for the entire reporting period.

During the reporting period, the Hon Mark Coulton MP held the position of Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment from 1 July 2019 until 6 February 2020. The Hon Andrew Gee MP succeeded him in this position until the end of the reporting period. Senator the Hon Jonathon Duniam was Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism throughout the reporting period.

A professional workforce

Austrade has a highly educated, culturally diverse workforce, with a mix of private and public sector experience.

At 30 June 2020, Austrade employed 1,083 staff, 67 per cent of whom were employed in client-focused operations in Australia and overseas. For more information on Austrade’s staffing, see Appendix D.

Financial performance

In 2019–20, Austrade continued to maintain an effective financial management framework and achieved improvements in practices and processes.

Further analysis of Austrade’s financial position is provided in the financial review 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 2019–20, the Service Improvement Study found 90 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 Part 2: Report on Performance.

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