Federal agriculture department rebrands in bid to deliver ‘better government’
Australia’s Federal agriculture department has undergone its fifth name change in less than a decade, rebranding this month as the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Formerly known as the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, its “new” name — which took effect on July 1 — is actually not new at all.
Rather, DAFF is the same title the department operated under from October 1998 to September 2013, when it became simply the Department of Agriculture.
Two years later, it was re-named the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, before reverting to the Department of Agriculture title in May 2019 and rebranding as DAWE in February 2020.
A department spokesman told Countryman the latest reshuffle came about under machinery of government changes, which saw responsibility for food manufacturing policy come under the same portfolio as agriculture.
“The name changed because DAWE’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry functions were separated from the water, environment and climate portfolios, which are now part of the new Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water,” the spokesman said.
“The environment, water and climate functions joined elements of the former Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to form DCCEEW from July 1.”
The Federal agriculture portfolio was established in December 1942 as the Department of Commerce and Agriculture.
That lasted until January 1956, when it became the Department of Primary Industries, with another nine name changes occurring over the next seven decades.
The latest reshuffle was part of several departmental and administrative changes aimed at delivering “better government for all Australians”, Labor Senator Katy Gallagher said.
Ms Gallagher — who holds the separate ministerial portfolios of Women, Finance and Public Service — said the DCCEEW was created to “deliver the Government’s job-creating climate change and energy agenda and give Australia’s environment the protection it deserves”.
Another new department, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, was also created to “implement and administer the Government’s workplace relations, jobs, skills and training agenda”.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health was renamed the Department of Health and Aged Care; and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications was renamed the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.
“The Department of Finance will gain responsibility for data policy, including the Digital Transformation Agency, as well as de-regulation,” Ms Gallagher said.
“The Department of Home Affairs will gain responsibility for natural disaster response and mitigation, including the National Recovery and Resilience Agency.
“The Attorney-General’s portfolio will gain responsibility for criminal law enforcement and policy, including the Australian Federal Police.”
Agriculture department name changes: A timeline
- Department of Commerce and Agriculture – Dec 1942
- Department Primary Industries – Jan 1956
- Department of Agriculture - June 1975
- Department of Primary Industries – Dec 1975
- Department of Primary Industries and Energy – July 1987
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - Oct 1998
- Department of Agriculture – Sept 2013
- Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Sept 2015
- Department of Agriculture – May 2019
- Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment – Feb 2020
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry – July 2022
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