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External service providers


The department is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity. Our procurement policies and practices are consistent with:

  • relevant Commonwealth legislation
  • the Australian Government Financial Framework, which includes the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
  • our Accountable Authority Instructions.

Our procurement practices reflect the Commonwealth's procurement framework, with the focus on:

  • value for money
  • encouraging competition
  • efficient, effective, economical and ethical procurement
  • accountability and transparency.

We provide departmental guides, specialist advice and assistance to all our divisions to help ensure we meet our obligations.

Procurement initiatives to support small and medium enterprises

We support small business participation in the Commonwealth procurement market. Small and medium-sized enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website.

We recognise the importance of ensuring small businesses are paid on time. The department's payment practice complies with the Commonwealth's supplier pay-on-time or pay interest policy. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are available on the Treasury website.

Our procurement practices support small and medium enterprises by using:

  • the Commonwealth Contracting Suite (CCS) for low-risk procurements valued at under $1 million
  • small business engagement principles, such as communicating in clear, simple language and presenting information in an accessible format
  • credit cards where possible for purchases under $10,000.

Other contract information

During 2019–20 the secretary did not exempt any contracts or standing offers entered into by the department from being published on AusTender.

The department is not aware of any contract it entered into during 2019–20 that might limit the Australian National Audit Office's access for the purposes of performing an audit.


The department engages consultants where it lacks specialist expertise or requires independent research, review or assessment. We typically engage consultants to:

  • investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem
  • carry out defined reviews or evaluations
  • provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist in the department's decision-making.

Before engaging consultants we take into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. We make decisions to engage consultants in accordance with the PGPA Act and related rules, including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

The annual report contains information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Further information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.

Consultancy contracts

During 2019–20 we entered into 198 new consultancy contracts involving total actual expenditure of $21.953 million. In addition, 121 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $17.855 million (Table 21).

Table 21 Number of new and existing consultancy contracts, 2019–20


Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment a b

Department of Agriculture c


New contracts




Existing contracts




a Includes active contracts transferred from the former Department of Agriculture through machinery of government changes. b Does not include contracts transferred to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. c Contracts that commenced or were active during the reporting period but concluded before the machinery of government changes.

Advertising and market research

During 2019–20 the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment conducted the following advertising campaigns:

  • Country Handle With Care
  • Murray–Darling Basin Water Efficiency Program launch
  • Importing seeds – Google Adwords advertising
  • Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme – eBay advertising
  • African Swine Fever information campaign
  • Biosecurity awareness for international students
  • Trial recycling campaign.

Further information on those advertising campaigns is available in the reports on Australian Government advertising prepared by the Department of Finance. Those reports are available on the Department of Finance website.

Payments to advertising agencies, market research organisations, polling organisations, direct mail organisations and media advertising organisations are set out in Table 22.

Table 22 Advertising and market research, 2019–20




Advertising agencies

TBWA Melbourne Pty Ltd

Creative content for environment communication


Market research organisations a


Global Agriculture & Food Systems collaboration on future trends


JWS Research

Market research – Environment and Energy


Hall & Partners Pty Ltd

Mandatory whole of government campaign evaluation market research services


University of Melbourne

Asset Materiality Review


Whereto Research Based Consulting Pty Ltd

Comms research to inform the Reconciliation Action Plan


Whereto Research Based Consulting Pty Ltd

Reconciliation Action Plan Communication Research



Report on Future of the Agriculture Workforce exploring current trends and driving forces that are impacting the Australian agricultural workforce over the next 10 years


Instinct and Reason Pty Ltd

Television market research to inform the development of television labelling under the Equipment Energy Efficiency program



Consumer demand for recycled content research


Polling organisations



Direct mail organisations


Media advertising organisations—including recruitment and tender notices

Universal McCann







a Market research values are over the whole contract length, not just the 2019–20 financial year. N/A not applicable.