What to expect from new “super department” DPIRD

Ralph Addis, gave a detailed overview of next steps for DPIRD.

Ralph Addis, gave a detailed overview of next steps for DPIRD.

Ralph Addis, Director General of the newly formed Department of Primary Industries (DPIRD) took to the stage earlier this month at the WAFIC Open Industry Forum to discuss the strategic direction and vision of the recently formed McGowan Government’s “super department.”

Part of the new Labor Government’s restructure plan, the move saw the amalgamation of the former Department of Fisheries, Agriculture and Regional Development Commissions with the intent to provide a unified service for WA’s vital primary industries and regions.

Mr Addis reassured meeting participants that the change in government not only offers continuity to stakeholders and services but also a regional connection due to an increase in government positions in rural areas.

Mr Addis shared the future intent of DPIRD, which is committed to creating enduring prosperity of Western Australians through 3 key areas of focus: Grow, Protect and Innovate, and said that the next step of focus is industry consultation.

Grow: To enable the primary industries sector and regions to increase international competitiveness, grow in value and social amenity and become a key pillar of the State’s economy. A key focus of DPIRD will be to grow opportunities in aquaculture and commercial wild-catch fisheries.

Protect: To manage and provide for sustainable use of our natural resources, and to protect our brand and reputation as a reliable producer of premium, clean and safe food, products and services. Mr Addis noted that it was important that we are in front of the game when it comes to biosecurity and fighting disease.

Innovate: To support a culture of innovation and adaptation across primary industries and regions to boost industry transformation, economic growth and employment. Mr Addis said that innovation comes in every level. Internally, the department would be more proactive and creative – taking calculated risks.

He said the vision of DPIRD is simple – to grow our best opportunities (fisheries, agriculture, protecting natural resources/ assets and biosecurity) and be on the front foot when it comes to change.
The department will continue to work with industry stakeholders to provide clean, green produce, to protect sustainable resource management, leverage our “clean and green” credentials and continue to innovate our State’s Primary Industries.


In the year ahead, Mr Addis said that there will be focus on the recruitment of senior executive staff positions. The new form will see the office of the Director General become the primary point of contact between the Department and the Offices of the Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food and the Minister of Fisheries.

There will no longer be fisheries, agriculture or regional pillars but there will be three Deputy Director General positions who will each lead one of the following operational divisions:

1. Sustainability

Essentially a coming together of all our resource management capability and responsibilities particularly from fisheries and agriculture and food. Includes Biosecurity – an important responsibility for DPIRD and operations and compliance.

2. Industry Economic Development

Largely a coming together of key functions out of the agricultural and regional space with some key elements coming out of the fisheries space including aquaculture. A focus of this pillar is enhancing productivity in regions and ceasing best opportunities for growth.

3. Capability and Strategy

Includes tradition corporate services which includes people and strategy/ performance.

Mr Addis listed the following; aquaculture, industry and economic development and biosecurity as opportunities that the new department would be addressing as key areas of focus for fisheries.

From now up until Christmas, the department will continue to build and consult on strategic priorities for the next 2 – 3 years where Mr Addis said that there will be further engagement with key stakeholders including Ministers, WAFIC and Recfishwest.

Over the coming weeks and months senior leadership will be a priority and to expect some level of change. He said that it will be important that there is a smooth transition and that people are settled into positions with new, clear priorities.

Click for DPIRD Presentation