Lakes entrance fisherman's CoOp - Gillnet vessel unloading


Corporate governance practices


People management

Management and accountability infographic

Corporate governance practices

Governing body

AFMA as a non-corporate statutory body forms part of the Commonwealth government. It is governed by a Commission which is responsible for exercising functions and powers in relation to domestic fisheries management. The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for assisting the Commission in giving effect to its decisions. The Chief Executive Officer is separately responsible for exercising AFMA’s foreign compliance functions and powers.

The Commission is subject to limited government policy direction as stated in section 91 of the Fisheries Administration Act 1991.

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources appoints the chairman, part time commissioners and the Chief Executive Officer. Following advice from the chairman, the minister appoints a part time commissioner as deputy-chairperson. The minister is also the approving authority for AFMA’s Corporate Plan, Annual Operational Plan and all Fishery Management Plans determined by AFMA.

The Chief Executive Officer is the Accountable Authority under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and is the Agency Head under the Public Service Act 1999. He is also appointed as an AFMA Commissioner. The Chief Executive Officer is subject to Ministerial Direction with regard to the Authority’s foreign compliance functions, and under the Public Service Act 1999 is required to be responsive to government in implementing the government’s policies and programs.

For more information about AFMA’s Commissioners, see Appendix 1 to this report

Disclosure of interests

Commissioners must disclose to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources any pecuniary or other interest that may relate to their AFMA functions, both prior to appointment and if such interests arise during their terms of office. Disclosures of interests are kept on a register of interests held by AFMA’s Executive Secretary. Where a commissioner declares they have an interest in a matter under consideration by the Commission it will initiate procedures to safeguard the integrity of the Commission’s decisions.

Performance review

The Commission conducts a review of its performance at each Commission meeting. These documented reviews address the effectiveness of the Commission in its decision making, corporate governance and maintenance of stakeholder relationships.

Internal scrutiny

AFMA strives to ensure that governance arrangements, together with the associated systems and processes used, are the best they can be. To this end we utilise internal audits as an essential tool to independently identify any deficiencies in these processes and control systems whilst at the same time providing opportunities to deliver better practices that will improve the efficiency, cost effectiveness and transparency of our management and regulatory arrangements.

In June 2017, the internal auditor in collaboration with AFMA Management and the AFMA Audit and Risk Committee established a Strategic Internal Audit Plan for 2017–2019. The Strategic Internal Audit Plan outlines the intended audits that will be conducted over the three year period. These proposed audits are intended to address high level risks that have been identified as part of our Risk Management Framework.

Drawing on this plan, the independent auditor completed four audits during 2017–18 on the following areas of AFMA’s business operations:

  • Fisheries Operations Quality Assurance policy and procedures compliance
    • The focus of the audit was to ensure key operations within the Domestic General Deterrence Program were supported by regularly reviewed and accessible policy, procedures and/or guidance.
  • Business Continuity Plan performance
    • The focus of the audit was to review the AFMA Business Continuity Plan to ensure it was in line with Australian National Audit Office better practice guidelines, covered the critical business functions and areas, and incorporated the ICT disaster recovery needs.
  • Workplace Health and Safety compliance
    • The focus of the audit was to ensure that AFMA is meeting the legislative requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety Act when conducting its business.
  • Fisheries Officers allowance compliance audit
    • The focus of the audit was to test and report on the effectiveness of key controls operating over the administration of the payment of AFMA Field Staff allowances

AFMA Management has endorsed and implemented the majority of the recommendations from these audits. Work on outstanding endorsed recommendations will be undertaken during 2018–19 and monitored by the AFMA Audit and Risk Committee.

We have also established a number of standing committees which provide oversight and governance over other key business operational activities. These committees include:

  • Strategic Delivery Committee – oversees the delivery of relevant key project work
  • Data and Information Governance Committee – provides a strategic approach to managing data, information and records to reduce business risk, increase accountability, and improve operational efficiencies
  • Security Governance Committee – considers the current security governance arrangements and the security threats and vulnerabilities to AFMA
  • Risk Management Committee – provides oversight of AFMA risk management activities.

The Chief Executive Officer, as required under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, has maintained the Audit and Risk Committee to also provide independent internal scrutiny of AFMA business operations. Descriptions of these committees are provided in Appendix.

External Scrutiny

AFMA’s financial statements are audited annually by the Australian National Audit Office (the Audit Office). The Audit Office examines the strength of our internal controls to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the annual financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement. The results of their audit are presented in their report on the financial statements accessible in part 5 of this report.

The Audit Office retains an understanding of AFMA’s business, the environment in which we operate, our objectives and strategies and internal controls. This includes acquiring an understanding of the information systems and related business processes relevant to our financial reporting objectives (including the accounting system) and how we have responded to any related financial reporting risks. Relevant Audit Office performance audits or internal audit activity are considered as part of this process. AFMA’s performance is also subject to review through the Senate Estimates process. Parliament may also review and disallow legislative instruments proposed by AFMA as part of its delegated functions.

Outcomes of judicial and administrative tribunals are referenced at Appendix 2: ‘Civil Litigation Outcomes’.

Corporate planning and reporting

AFMA’s Planning and Reporting Framework is consistent with the obligations under the Fisheries Administration Act 1991, whole-of-government requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014. These obligations together with our own internal documents support effective governance. The key elements are:

Corporate planning and reporting infographic
Performance monitoring

AFMA prepares three planning documents and a performance reporting document each year. In addition, AFMA undertakes an annual self-assessment of its regulatory operations and performance. Monitoring of progress and accountability for delivering outputs is a key responsibility for AFMA staff. Individual performance agreements and reviews of periodic reports by managers, committees, Senior Executives, the Commission and stakeholders all help ensure that we remain on target. Each quarter the AFMA Commission receives a report on progress against the strategic actions contained in the Annual Operational Plan.

Section Plans

Every business unit within AFMA is required to develop section plans. These plans ensure that business activity across the agency is both coordinated and focused on delivering directly to AFMA’s objectives as outlined in our Annual Operational Plan. These plans form the basis of allocating resources to the various business activities and/or specific projects that directly support the outcomes of the Annual Operational Plan. The section plans also inform individual staff performance plans against which officers are assessed throughout the reporting period in accordance with our performance development scheme.

Risk Management

The AFMA Risk Management Framework incorporates a Risk Management Policy and Risk Management Guidelines that are consistent with the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and international standards (ISO 31000:2009). The framework is aligned with AFMA’s corporate goals to ensure all our staff remain focused on achieving those goals while managing the identified risks associated with them. This approach ensures that our staff at all levels of the agency are responsible for participating in risk management processes. It also delivers cost-efficient fisheries management by allowing our managers to make informed decisions and assign resources effectively.

Oversight of risk management activities is provided by the Audit and Risk Committee who provide external expertise and the Risk Management Committee which is comprised of representatives from across AFMA. Our AFMA Risk Manager supports staff to manage risk by providing tools and advice on risk management practices. AFMA maintains enterprise and strategic risk monitoring and reporting processes in accordance with our Risk Management Policy and Risk Management Guidelines.

The Enterprise Risk Register assists in the identification and monitoring of risks throughout the agency associated with its operational activities. This ‘living’ document assists our staff to address risks posed by their operational activity and feeds into the Strategic Risk Register. The Strategic Risk Register has been designed to align identified risks outlined in the Enterprise Risk Register to the corporate goals as set out in the AFMA Corporate Plan. Both registers are reviewed annually and have been endorsed by the AFMA Commission and the AFMA Audit and Risk Committee.

Our risk management process is illustrated below:

Risk management process
Business Continuity

AFMA’s Business Continuity Plan identifies a tiered response to essential business activities that we consider are critical to maintain in the event of unexpected disruption to normal service delivery. The Plan provides guidance to AFMA Management in establishing alternative arrangements and enables the priority allocation of resources to critical business processes to ensure that AFMA continues to function effectively during and following a significant disruption. The Plan includes emergency contacts, cyclone response procedures for our Darwin and Thursday Island offices and information and communications technology disaster recovery protocols. The Business Continuity Plan is tested, reviewed and updated annually, and monitored by the AFMA Audit and Risk Committee.

The Business Continuity Plan was reviewed by our internal auditors during 2017–18, to ensure it was in line with ANAO better practice guidelines, covered the critical business functions and areas, and incorporated the ICT disaster recovery needs. Several minor recommendations for improvement were identified and AFMA management intends to address these during 2018–19.

Project Management Framework

AFMA’s Strategic Delivery Framework supports the planning and delivery of key projects across the organisation. The framework has been developed to support improved governance and oversight of all key projects required to be delivered to meet AFMA’s Annual Operational and/or Corporate Plans. The framework provides increased accuracy in allocating resourcing and managing project deliverables.

The Strategic Delivery Committee, made up of AFMA’s Executive, oversees the delivery of relevant key project work. Meetings during 2017–18 reviewed the business cases prepared by project managers and initiated the reporting process.

The Strategic Delivery Framework provides defined project management processes, coordination and systematic reporting. For further information on the Strategic Delivery Committee see Appendix.

Information Management

During 2017–18 AFMA fully implemented an Electronic Documents and Records Management System. The Electronic Documents and Records Management System is a key element in the cost effective and efficient storage, retrieval and use of information in AFMA and an important means for us to meet the requirements of the Government’s Digital Continuity 2020 Policy

To support the Electronic Documents and Records Management System implementation, we have reviewed and updated, where necessary, various internal information management governance documents and policies that underpin the agency Electronic Documents and Records Management System, to ensure that a complete digital record keeping environment is achieved within AFMA.

All our staff have access to the Electronic Documents and Records Management System and have been trained in its use. Since the implementation of the Electronic Documents and Records Management System, the rate of adoption and number of documents being electronically captured in the system has steadily increased. To ensure the Electronic Documents and Records Management System meets our future needs, daily quality assurance is undertaken to ensure records are being classified correctly by our staff and where necessary corrected.

In line with the Electronic Documents and Records Management System implementation, we have also commenced a review of our broader information and data management strategy to ensure it aligns with the Digital 2020 initiatives and identify how these changes will impact the AFMA record keeping environment in the future.

To meet the Digital 2020 policy, we have also commenced work in reducing our existing paper file holdings. This project has seen a reduction of 25 per cent of existing paper holdings to date and this work will continue in 2018–19. In a similar vein we have commenced a digitisation initiative, turning our paper forms into digital to further reduce our paper holdings and streamline workflow within the agency resulting in significant cost efficiency.

Fraud Control

The AFMA Fraud Control Framework addresses internal fraud perpetrated within AFMA. The AFMA Fraud Policy applies to our staff (and contractors) and outlines our zero tolerance policy to fraud. We have in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting procedures that meet the specific needs of the organisation. These mechanisms and procedures are regularly tested to ensure that they remain relevant and fit for purpose for AFMA. Both the new Policy and Control Plan meet AFMA’s requirements under section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.

The Fraud Policy does not apply to fraud committed by parties external to AFMA, such as domestic or foreign fishers operating in the Australian Fishing Zone. The investigation of such fraud is undertaken by investigating officials within AFMA’s Fisheries Operations Branch, or in some cases the Australian Federal Police.

Audit and Risk Committee

AFMA’s Audit and Risk Committee provides independent assurance and advice to the Chief Executive Officer and the AFMA Commission on AFMA’s financial reporting, performance monitoring, systems of risk oversight and management and systems of internal control.

For further information on the Audit and Risk Committee see Appendix 1.

Compliance with finance law

In accordance with paragraph 19(1)(e) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 AFMA must include a statement in the annual report on any significant issues reported to the responsible minister that relate to non-compliance with the finance law in relation to the entity. If such a statement has been included in the annual report, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 also requires the annual report to include an outline of the actions taken to remedy the non-compliance.

AFMA’s review of compliance for 2017–18 with finance law (the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and associated rules and instruments) indicates that there are no significant matters that warrant reporting to the minister.


During 2017–18 AFMA continued to maintain a strong push on improved performance with respect to our responsibilities under the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Our staff are kept well informed of any changes in procurement rules through our internal communications such as intranet news stories, revised templates and targeted training sessions.

Our approach to procurement and contract management is based on a selfservice model enabling our staff at all levels within the organisation to undertake procurement and contract management activities within a clearly defined framework.

The relevant policies, procedures, tools and process maps are all easily accessible on our intranet for our staff to utilise. Importantly, a procurement and contract management training package has been developed and delivered across the organisation. To further support procurement and contract management capabilities within AFMA, a Community of Practice has been fostered so that experience can be shared with all our staff across the agency.


Australian National Audit Office Access clauses

All contracts valued at $100 000 or more (GST inclusive) let during the year provided for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

Exempt Contracts

The Chief Executive Officer did not exempt any contracts let during 2017–18 from being published on AusTender on the basis that publication would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Advertising campaigns

AFMA did not conduct any advertising campaigns during the year.

Discretionary grants

AFMA did not administer any grants during the year.

People Management

Our employees

As at 30 June 2018, AFMA employed 180 employees (based on head count): 155 were ongoing and 25 were non-ongoing. These numbers do not include six employees on long-term leave.

There were 132 employees located in AFMA’s Canberra office, 20 employees located in the Darwin office and seven employees on Thursday Island. A further 21 casual field observers undertake duties on commercial fishing vessels around Australia.

AFMA will expand its operations in Lakes Entrance, Victoria, from one to eight staff. The expansion will enable us (as the regulator) and industry to work more collaboratively. The Lakes Entrance office will open and be fully operational in August 2018, staffed with fisheries and bycatch managers in addition to compliance officers. See feature story on page 112.

AFMA expands operations in Lakes Entrance

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority will expand its operations in Lakes Entrance, Victoria, from one to eight staff, to better meet its business and operational needs in one of Australia’s largest Commonwealth commercial fishing ports. The Lakes Entrance port is the primary port for the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery as well as other commercial fishers. Species such as flathead, pink ling, whiting and shark are transported from the Lakes Entrance port to key markets in Sydney and Melbourne as well as supplying local fish and chip shops.

Having an increased presence in the area will mean AFMA will be able to work more closely with industry on co-management arrangements, bycatch reduction, electronic monitoring and fisheries compliance operations. Being within close proximity of the Victorian Fisheries Authority and co-located with industry associations like the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association will create a lot of opportunities for closer collaboration with industry.

The office space is housed at the Federation Training SEAMAC facility at Bullock Island. The space has come a long way from the former configuration of a laboratory/training room. Gone are the drab lab fittings and bank of computer terminals, replaced with a vibrant work space consisting of a dedicated reception/waiting room, meeting room with video conferencing facilities, 10 work stations and a break-out area. The use of docking stations promotes a flexible working style – allowing for a seamless transition from the desk to the field. With 4G Wi-Fi connectivity, coupled with the latest laptop computers, it allows for the rotation of AFMA staff who may need to undertake work from the office periodically.

The Lakes Entrance office commenced operations in August 2018, staffed with fisheries and bycatch managers in addition to compliance officers. The Lakes Entrance fishing port is annually worth over $63 million to the Australian economy.

Lakes Entrance Office

Lakes Entrance Office

Photo courtesy: AFMA

Our employment profile has not significantly changed from 2016–17. The proportion of part time employees (excluding casual observers) has increased slightly to 11.3 per cent in 2017–18 compared to 9.6 per cent in 2016–17.

The proportion of females has decreased to 39.4 per cent from 42.4 per cent in the previous financial year. The percentage of women at EL1–2 levels for 2017–18 has decreased to 28.9 per cent from 34.6 per cent in the previous year.

There has been a decrease in the number of employees from non-English speaking backgrounds with eight employees in 2017–18, down from ten in 2016–17.

As a comparison with the 2016–17 financial year, the number of employees who have at least one parent from a non-English speaking background has increased from 35 to 42 with the number of employees identifying as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander increasing slightly from six to seven. In addition, employees who identified themselves as having a disability remained at one in 2017–18.

Equal opportunity profile of AFMA employees as at 30 June 2018

Level NESB1 NESB2 People with disability Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women Men Total employees at level
APS 2–4 1 15 0 5 21 34 55
APS 5–6 7 19 1 1 37 39 76
EL1 0 5 0 1 9 22 31
EL2 0 1 0 0 4 10 14
SES 0 2 0 0 0 4 4
Total 8 42 1 7 71 109 180

NESB1: Persons from a non-English speaking background who were born overseas.
NESB2: Persons whose parent/s is/are from a non-English speaking background

Non-ongoing employees employed by location, gender and employment status as at 30 June 2018

Level Location Women Men Total
Part time Full time Part time Full time employees at level
APS 1–2 Canberra 0 0 17 0 17
Darwin 0 0 0 0 0
Thursday Island 0 0 0 0 0
APS 3–4 Canberra 0 2 4 1 7
Darwin 0 0 0 0 0
Thursday Island 0 0 0 0 0
APS 5–6 Canberra 0 0 0 1 1
Darwin 0 0 0 0 0
Thursday Island 0 0 0 0 0
EL1 Canberra 0 0 0 0 0
Darwin 0 0 0 0 0
Thursday Island 0 0 0 0 0
EL2 Canberra 0 0 0 0 0
Darwin 0 0 0 0 0
Thursday Island 0 0 0 0 0
SES Canberra 0 0 0 0 0
Darwin 0 0 0 0 0
Thursday Island 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 2 21 2 25

* These figures include 21 observers who are engaged as APS 2/3 casual employees and are reported in the Canberra ‘part time’ figures

Ongoing employees employed by location, gender and employment status as at 30 June 2018

Level Location Women Men Total
Part time Full time Part time Full time employees at level
APS 1–2 Canberra 0 2 0 0 2
Darwin 0 0 0 0 0
Thursday Island 0 0 0 0 0
APS 3–4 Canberra 3 10 0 10 23
Darwin 0 1 0 3 4
Thursday Island 0 2 0 0 2
APS 5–6 Canberra 8 24 1 26 59
Darwin 0 4 0 9 13
Thursday Island 0 1 0 2 3
EL1 Canberra 4 5 2 18 29
Darwin 0 0 0 1 1
Thursday Island 0 0 0 1 1
EL2 Canberra 0 3 0 9 12
Darwin 0 0 0 1 1
Thursday Island 0 1 0 0 1
SES Canberra 0 0 0 3 3
Darwin 0 0 0 1 1
Thursday Island 0 0 0 0 0
Total 15 53 3 84 155

This table excludes six employees on long-term leave and includes one APS employee on temporary transfer to AFMA. These figures relate to the nominal occupants of the position and not employees who may be acting as at 30 June 2018. This SES figure also includes AFMA’s Chief Executive Officer.

Terms and conditions of employment
AFMA’s Enterprise Agreement 2016

AFMA’s Enterprise Agreement 2016 came into effect on 23 June 2016 and has a nominal expiry date of 22 June 2019. The agreement states the terms and conditions for all AFMA employees, excluding Senior Executive Service Officers.

Our Enterprise Agreement 2016 contains provisions that enable the Chief Executive Officer and an employee covered by the agreement to enter into an individual flexibility agreement to vary the effect of terms of the agreement. The terms which an employee may vary under the Enterprise Agreement include (but are not limited to) hours of work, overtime rates, penalty rates, allowances, remuneration and leave.

AFMA entered into 54 individual flexibility agreements for 46 employees during 2017–18 as outlined in the table below. Eight employees entered into multiple agreements therefore the number of agreements is higher than the number of employees

Individual flexibility agreements for 2017–18

Classification Number
APS 1 0
APS 2 0
APS 3 0
APS 4 6
APS 5 4
APS 6 20
EL1 21
EL2 3


AFMA’s salary ranges are contained in AFMA’s Enterprise Agreement 2016. The salary minimum and maximum amounts at each classification as at 30 June 2018 are shown in the table below.

Enterprise agreement salary ranges as at 30 June 2018

Classification Minimum Maximum
APS 1 $43 841 $51 233
APS 2 $54 927 $58 626
APS 3 $60 124 $65 343
APS 4 $67 951 $72 650
APS 5 $74 887 $79 316
APS 6 $83 742 $92 604
EL1 $103 015 $114 495
EL2 $120 858 $140 902

AFMA does not have performance bonuses.

AFMA’s salary ranges for Senior Executive Service employees (three) are contained in our Executive Remuneration Policy. The salary range amounts as at 30 June 2018 are shown in the table below.

Salary ranges for Senior Executive Service employees

Classification Minimum Maximum
SES Bands 1 and 2 $168 839 $237 180

The remuneration of senior executives is determined with reference to the remuneration survey published by the Australian Public Service Commission and is commensurate with the assessed complexity of their work. Senior executives are not eligible for bonus payments.

In addition to the salary ranges above, and as part of their total remuneration package, senior executive officers are also eligible to access other provisions including salary in lieu of a vehicle and car parking. Due to the small numbers of senior executives within AFMA, further breakdown of senior executive remuneration packages is not made available to avoid identification of individuals.

Remuneration for the Chief Executive Officer is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. Details are available from the Remuneration Tribunal website.

AFMA did not make use of any non-salary benefits in 2017–18.

Human resource management

Ethical Standards

In working towards AFMA’s goals and objectives, employees are expected to maintain the highest standards of business and personal ethics. These expectations are underpinned by:

  • APS Code of Conduct
  • APS Values
  • AFMA’s Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy.
Australian Public Service Employee Census

Each year, AFMA employees are invited to participate in the Australian Public Service Employee Census. The census gathers feedback and allows us to address specific issues and shape future priorities.

For 2018, AFMA’s response rate to this survey was 69 per cent, down from 75 per cent in 2017. This was below the average of the APS which saw an overall participation rate of 74 per cent.

Results from the 2017 census (latest available) indicated that we performed well against the areas of workplace culture and agency engagement with the majority of employees enjoying working in their current role. There was an increase in employees believing the agency is committed to creating a diverse workforce and is supportive of a good work life balance.

In response to other less positive survey results, we are seeking continuous improvement in the areas of performance management and professional development and training for our managers. This includes having implemented a number of training programs including Mental Health First Aid and Work Health and Safety training (mandatory for executive level employees), Unconscious Bias and Cultural Effectiveness training.

A review of the Performance Management Scheme is also currently being undertaken with the new policy due to be implemented in 2018–19.

AFMA Rewards and Recognition Program

We recognise that building a culture that values its employees and recognises performance is critical to retaining the best people. The AFMA achievement awards recognise individual and team achievements throughout the year and are determined by the Chief Executive Officer and branch heads upon the recommendation of any member of staff.

The awards are presented at a ceremony each year which is hosted by the Chief Executive Officer. The 2017 achievement awards were presented in December 2017 with a total of 15 nominations received.

The individual achievement award recipient for 2017 was Selina Stoute. Selina was recognised for her significant contributions in improving fisheries management arrangements. There were several key achievements resulting in improvements to the management of Torres Strait fisheries that would not have been realised without Selina’s hard work, dedication, resilience and leadership.

The 2017 group achievement award was awarded to Mark Lindsay-Temple and Kylie McKillop. Both Mark and Kylie’s commitment and dedication along with their professional and supportive approach were commended by senior managers, managers and operations team members.

The good citizen award was awarded to Dylan Maskey. Dylan exemplified citizenship within AFMA and was recognised as always willing to assist with challenging tasks and work across different teams within AFMA to ensure that the best outcome was achieved.

The collaboration and mentoring award was awarded to Chee Kay Loke who was recognised for her professionalism and willingness to invest time in providing good advice and support to staff both through informal and formal training. The innovation award was awarded to David Schubert. David developed a promotional video explaining what AFMA does and the role industry plays in the capture of seafood. David took an innovative approach to communicating AFMA’s message and used imagery that focused on people and the process of catching fish. The unsung hero award was awarded to Amelinda Byrne who was recognised for her exceptional work in preparing for the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources meeting. Amelinda went above and beyond her normal duties in providing support to her manager, coordinating briefing among several agencies, effectively managing relationships and delivering policy advice on a range of issues.

At the ceremony, AFMA also recognised 21 employees who have contributed more than ten years of service to AFMA.

Photograph of employees who recieved awards

From left to right: David Schubert, Mark Lindsey-Temple, Kylie McKillop, James Findlay (CEO), Chee Kay Loke, Amelinda Byrne, Dylan Maskey

Development Awards

Each year, we offer employees the opportunity to nominate for an annual development award. The intention of the award is to recognise and reward

performance on the part of the individual whilst providing an opportunity for personal development that benefits both the individual and AFMA.

AFMA awarded development awards which supported employees to:

  • attend the World Congress of Accountants 2018 from 5–8 November 2018 in Sydney
  • attend the SeaWeb Seafood Summit 2018 from 18–21 June 2018 in Barcelona, Spain
  • attend the 9th International Fisheries Observer and Monitoring Conference from 11–15 June 2018 in Vigo, Spain
  • complete a Certificate IV in Procurement and Contracting (PSP40616) with the Australian Centre for Financial and Environmental Compliance
Performance Management

The work that all our employees do is crucial to the achievement of AFMA’s goals. AFMA’s performance management scheme is a collaborative, ongoing process between a manager and their employee/s that all employees are required to participate in.

The performance cycle ensures that:

  • employees know what is expected of them
  • individual and AFMA goals are aligned
  • employees receive ongoing feedback and improvement advice
  • employees identify, plan and deliver on areas for individual learning, capability and career development

The aim of AFMA’s performance management scheme is to ensure all staff have the right tools and processes to help meet key deliverables. The scheme is also an important tool to ensure that underperformance is identified early so it can be addressed quickly and effectively

Training and development

AFMA’s 2017–18 corporate training plan clearly articulated our approach to learning and development. The plan identified a number of development priorities through capability plans submitted by employees, input from our Executive group and results from the 2017 APS Employee Census.

We provided a number of in-house courses during 2017–18 that covered a range of issues including work health and safety, mental health first aid, unconscious bias and cultural effectiveness. Formal inductions were also provided to all new starters.

In conjunction with their managers, employees were also able to enrol in relevant training and development opportunities that aligned with their specific role and responsibilities.

Study Assistance Program

AFMA’s study assistance program assists employees to pursue studies that are directly related to our business, including assistance in the form of funding and/ or study leave. In 2017–18, the program supported 15 employees for studies in various areas including applied science, communications, commerce, language and legal studies.

Employment programs
2017 Graduate Development Program

AFMA partners with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in recruitment and delivery of the Graduate Development Program. The program includes a combination of on-the-job-training, mentoring, a one week industry visit and a formal training program. We engaged two graduates in 2017 who completed the following rotations:

  • Rotation 1 at AFMA – Fisheries Services Section and Foreign Compliance Policy Section
  • Rotation 2 at DAWR – Marine Pests Section and Agriculture and Veterinary Chemicals Section
  • Rotation 3 at AFMA – National Compliance Strategy Section and Policy, Environment, Economics and Research Section.

We also hosted two graduates from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources during the second rotation.

In October 2017 we hosted our first industry visit which focused on industry perspectives on climate change impacts in Commonwealth fisheries. The five day industry visit provided graduates with valuable on-the-job learning experiences including an opportunity to meet with stakeholders.

Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP)

In focusing on building a more diverse workforce, we also participated in the IAGDP. The IAGDP is an entry level employment and development program for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who are interested in working in the Australian Public Service. It provides a structured introduction to the skills and knowledge necessary to commence a rewarding career in the Service. We engaged an employee under the IAGDP in September 2017 who is currently undertaking a combination of on-the-job-training, mentoring and formal training.

Australian National University Internships Program

The Australian National Internships Program gives undergraduate and postgraduate students an opportunity to work with Commonwealth agencies. During 2017–18, we hosted two students who contributed to the following projects:

  • Project 1 – a review of Electronic Monitoring programs in fisheries worldwide, including how they have impacted management decision making and the opportunities they may present in securing the blue economy
  • Project 2 – review of climate change science and adaption of Commonwealth fishery governance


AFMA is committed to fostering a diverse workplace free from discrimination and harassment, an environment which recognises and values the individual differences of employees, and fosters the contributions of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

Our commitment extends to attracting and recruiting people from diverse backgrounds and wherever possible, participation in whole of APS Programs.

The Stepping Into Program is an internship designed specifically for university students with a disability. In 2017 AFMA hosted one university student for paid work experience during the winter university break. The internship was undertaken within our Northern Fisheries Section.

The project involved reviewing the effects of a management program which aimed to increase effort and catches in the Torres Strait Pearl Shell Fishery through the issue of developmental permits allowing fishers to collect a number of undersized pearl shells.

The program is coordinated through the Australian Network on Disability and has been well received within AFMA.

Our employees were also invited to participate in diversity networks and related events hosted by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

The six diversity networks include:

  • Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Network
  • Disability Employees Network
  • Carers and Flexible Employees Network
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network
  • Women’s Network
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and/or Intersex Pride Network.

There was also an opportunity for a number of our staff to attend a variety of workshops and conferences that focused on diversity. These workshops included:

  • Women in Leadership Roadshow
  • Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) Inclusion and Diversity Conference
  • Cultural Effectiveness Training
  • Unconscious Bias Training.

What it takes to become an AFMA Fisheries Officer

I have been with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority for 12 years. I have woken to icebergs drifting past my porthole, walked the beaches of far flung tropical islands, crawled through a catch of decaying illegal shark fin on foreign fishing vessels, and shared some other amazing experiences with my colleagues along the way. I have completed patrols of our own waters alongside dedicated members of the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force, shared laughs and made memories with the crews on numerous foreign patrol vessels operated by AFMA’s international counterparts and I have communicated effectively with people on foreign boats that have non-English speaking backgrounds.

I have broadened the horizons of a farm kid from South Australia in ways that I never thought possible – I can and have been called upon to operate anywhere from Africa to Tahiti, and Hawaii to Antarctica, and can go from chasing shade in the tropics to needing ten layers of clothing off the southern coast of Australia in a matter of days.

You would struggle to find a more diverse and challenging work environment than ours! We can operate individually or as part of a team both domestically and abroad. We are a unique and adaptable unit – small in numbers, but immense in the global impact that we have against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. We partner with other Australian government and international agencies and personnel far and wide, but always with people that share our passion. While the role sometimes requires working long hours in varied conditions, the reward is amazing – this small team in a little known government department is making a big difference on a global scale.

Alan Specketer

Senior Fisheries Officer

Fisheries Operations Branch

Compliance in Darwin

AFMA Fisheries Officer retrieving ghost nets

AFMA Fisheries Officer retrieving ghost nets
Photo courtesy: AFMA