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In 2017–18 the department’s management agenda concentrated on reconciling the ambition of our policy agenda with the reality of tight fiscal and human resource constraints. Ensuring the quality and reach of our diplomacy is crucial to maximising Australia’s influence. To balance these challenges we have examined our culture, operating model and capability to ensure the department is fit for purpose into the future.

The department continued to implement the largest expansion of Australia’s diplomatic network in 40 years. In 2017–18 we opened new posts in Surabaya, Rabat, and Tallinn—our first pop-up post. Tallinn is a good example of the way in which we are testing new operating models to strengthen our diplomatic network and at the same time streamline service delivery and reduce overhead costs.

We also completed the rollout of the International Communications Network to 174 sites globally—a significant modernisation investment that has enhanced services for Australian Government agencies with an international focus. Our rollout of reDESIGN in North America, Europe and North Asia is further streamlining administrative processes, reducing duplication and freeing up posts to focus on policy, advocacy and service delivery.

The Passports and Consular team at the Australian High Commission Singapore [DFAT]