Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia), more popularly also known as DFAT helps manage Australias international presence. It plays an essential role in strengthening Australias security and enhancing its prosperity.
DFAT (Australia) also plays a major role in advancing Australias national interests and coordinates these with the global, regional and bilateral interests of Australia.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade helps the Australian government in many ways, by providing them important advice related to foreign, trade and development policies.
DFATs primary services include certifying documents Australia, issuing Apostilles, authentications and Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia) has an ultra proficient staff of over 6600 people, headed by the Secretary of DFAT. Approximately 4200 employees from the 6600 workforce, are employed in various offices at Canberra (head office), State, Territory and Overseas, whereas an additional 2400 employees are working as locally engaged staff overseas.
The Secretary is the top most officer of DFAT (Australia). Next to the secretary are Deputy Secretaries who head various Divisions and Offices. The Secretary reports to three main ministries, which are headed by the Foreign Minister Australia (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Minister of Trade Australia (Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Investment) and the Ministry Of International Development and the Pacific.
As of July 2016, Ms Frances Adamson is the Secretary of DFAT, who took over this position from Mr. Peter Varghese on 20 July, 2016. She is the first female secretary of DFAT. Deputy Secretaries of DFAT are Mr. Gary Quinlan, Mr. Ric Wells, Mr. Ewen McDonald, Ms Jennifer Rawson and Mr. Justin Brown who head various divisions and offices.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was officially established on 24 July, 1987. Prior to this there were many departments who handled most of the Foreign affairs and Trade functions of Australia for different tenures.
In between 1901 to 1987 Foreign Affair functions were handled by different departments. Till 1970, by and large the Department of External Affairs managed these functions, following which the Department of Foreign Affairs took over. Department of Foreign Affairs performed well until 1987, following which the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was established. DFAT now handles all the related foreign affair functions of Australia.
Just like Foreign Affairs, prior to 1987 Australias trade functions were also managed by different departments for varying tenures. From 1901 to January 1956, the Department of Trade and Customs handled most of the trade functions. In this duration several helpful departments were also established. For example the Department of Markets and Migration was established on 19 January 1925, the Department of Markets on 19 January 1928, the Department of Markets and Transport on 10 December 1928, and the Department of Commerce and Agriculture on 22 December 1942.
After 1956 there were many more departments who handled these trade functions in Australia. Starting from 17 January 1956, the Department of Trade was established, following which on 17 December 1963, the Department of Trade and Industry took over. From 19 December 1972 to 20 December 1977, the Department of Overseas Trade managed these functions and from 20 December 1977 to 11 March 1983 the Department of Trade and Resources managed the various trade functions.
Up until 1987 the Department of Trade handled all the trade functions of Australia, following which the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was establish and took over.
Besides issuing Apostilles, authentications, legalizing documents overseas, legalizing documents in Australia and Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage, there are many more services offered by DFAT.
During the year 2014-15, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has assisted many travelers. It issued 1,835,201 passports, received 50,252 calls in Consular Emergency Centre, managed 15,824 cases of Australians in difficulty and received an average of 7,361 passport applications on all working days.
Besides helping travelers, DFAT also helped many countries in state of emergencies and crises such as the Tropical Cyclone Pam and Nepal Earthquakes. Just in the year 2014-15 it helped over 21 countries across the Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Europe.
DFAT helped reduce poverty and promote growth in many ways. Its role in promoting Australias trade and investment is also beyond measure.
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