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Purpose statement

Prosperous: Through our unique capabilities, powers and activities, we contribute to Australia’s prosperity by enabling a globally connected and open economy.

Secure: Together we will protect Australia and Australians from key national security and criminal threats.

United: We celebrate Australia’s multicultural society and safeguard Australia’s democracy by building community resilience and engendering respect for Australia’s shared values and institutions.


A secure Australia that is prosperous, open and united.


Work together with the trust of our partners and community to keep Australia safe and secure, and support a cohesive and united Australia open for global engagement.

Role and functions

The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) is responsible for centrally coordinated strategy and policy leadership in relation to immigration, citizenship and multicultural affairs, domestic and national security arrangements, law enforcement, emergency management, counter-terrorism, social cohesion, the protection of Australia’s sovereignty, the integrity of the border, and the resilience of national infrastructure.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) as an operationally independent body is responsible for implementing Australia’s border enforcement policies, managing frontline border law enforcement and customs activities to protect the integrity of Australia’s borders. The ABF facilitates movements of legitimate trade and travel across Australia’s borders.

The ABF leads the child safeguarding framework for all programs and functions administered by the Department and the ABF that involve non-citizen children. The ABF also continues to strengthen our world leading efforts to eradicate modern slavery from international supply chains.


The Secretary of the Department, Michael Pezzullo AO, is the Accountable Authority for both the Department and the ABF under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). The Commissioner of the ABF, Michael Outram APM, is a statutory appointee and leads the operational functions of the ABF. The approach, which is supported by legislative and administrative arrangements, encompasses the individual and joint responsibilities and accountabilities of the Secretary of the Department and the Commissioner of the ABF.

Operating environment

As a global organisation, the Department and the ABF bring together 14,008 staff based in Australia and across 98 primary locations around the world.

The Department’s operating environment is typically characterised by increasing complexity and volume, notwithstanding the significance of the temporary impacts on international travel and migration caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department continues to assess our operating environment to ensure we remain vigilant and responsive to emerging and ongoing threats.


Throughout 2019–20, the Department and the ABF continued to align its activities to the Department of Home Affairs 2019–20 Corporate Plan, and the People Strategy 2025. These key strategy documents alongside the ABF’s Realising our Full Potential, have guided our work, our resourcing and our operational posture.