Statement of Expectations

Statement of Expectations

Letter containing Statement of Expectations available as PDF (115K)


Dear Dr Wensley:

I am writing to outline my expectations of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to assist with the Australian Government's commitment to the effective governance and performance of its agencies, guided by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act).

In writing this Statement of Expectations, I acknowledge the functions of AIMS as set out in the Australian Institute of Marine Science Act 1972 (the AIMS Act). It is imperative that, in exercising its functions and meeting its legislated requirements, AIMS takes into account the Government’s broad policy framework and what I see as key priorities.

Policy Context

The Government's Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda aims to achieve a lower cost, business friendly environment; a more skilled labour force; better economic infrastructure; and an industry policy that fosters entrepreneurship. As you are aware, the Government is committed to fostering a strong science and research base as a foundation for a competitive Australia. Science and research are central to driving innovation and technology development and for enhancing productivity and ensuring a strong future for Australian industry.

In this policy context, my expectations include:

  • I expect that AIMS will actively engage in the specific actions and the overall spirit of the Boosting Commercial Returns from Research agenda, ensuring the Commonwealth's $9.2 billion per year investment in research furthers the interests of the Australian community and maximises commercial returns.
  • The Government released a set of Science and Research Priorities on 26 May 2015. These priorities were developed by the Chief Scientist and considered by the Commonwealth Science Council (CSC). I expect that AIMS will give consideration as to how it can best contribute to these research areas of national priority.
  • Consistent with its legislative functions, I expect AIMS to contribute to the Government's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) agenda to increase Australia's STEM performance.
  • The Government will respond to the Research Infrastructure Review. I expect AIMS to provide input, through my department, to this process of policy development including on matters such as depreciation, governance, access management, long term planning and prioritisation and sources of funding.
  • With these policy priorities in mind, I expect AIMS to continue to deliver world class research and development in relation to marine science and marine technology that underpins the sustainable long term management of Australian marine environments, including the Great Barrier Reef, as well as associated impartial and accurate advice. In doing so, it should focus its scientific research on areas where it has or can establish a competitive edge, in terms of excellence and scale; and encourage the application and adoption of this research, especially where it can drive improvements in Australia's economic competitiveness.

Partnerships and Collaboration

  • I look forward to AIMS supporting me in my role as Deputy Chair to the Prime Minister of the CSC.
  • I also expect AIMS to engage with the Chief Scientist of Australia, including when a member of the National Science, Technology and Research Committee.
  • In advancing the Government's agenda, I expect AIMS to collaborate with universities, other publicly funded research agencies and industry to achieve common objectives.
    • In particular, AIMS should not rely entirely on its own resources but should also use national and international collaboration to increase the capacity and responsiveness of the nation's ability to translate marine science research into outcomes.
  • I expect AIMS to work in partnership with business to identify and develop the science to address industry problems and to underpin Australia's aim of increased competitiveness. The knowledge and ideas of its researchers can substantially improve the productivity of industry and businesses. AIMS and business should therefore work together to continue growth in the knowledge-based sectors. Further, I expect AIMS to engage with those industries where AIMS' capability can help them to become globally competitive.

Science Assets and Staff

  • AIMS should maximise use of its national scientific facilities and collections by Australian and international researchers, including by encouraging industry access to relevant facilities.
    • In encouraging such access, AIMS has a role to play in communicating and educating business on the benefits such infrastructure can provide.
  • I expect that AIMS will raise community awareness of its activities and communicate its research and technical knowledge through the publication of peer reviewed scientific papers and the provision of marine science and technology goods and services.
  • Research publications produced by AIMS that arise from public funding should be openly available at no charge within twelve months of original publication, excepting where contractual arrangements preclude this or are at significant cost, noting that I expect such arrangements to be minimised.
    • This could be done by making publications accessible via the agency web site; by depositing the output to an organisation, institution or discipline electronic archive that provides open access; by publishing in open access journals; or by ensuring publications are available on a journal or publisher web site.
  • Consistent with its legislative functions, I expect AIMS to invest in industry relevant research training. I also expect AIMS to encourage engagement between researchers and business, including by facilitating mobility between AIMS and other research organisations and industry. I expect AIMS to encourage its researchers to be entrepreneurial and support realisation of commercialisation outcomes for industry. I expect AIMS to support risk taking, as part of a resilient strategic approach to solving the big problems facing Australia, within the context of maintaining good governance and learning from failure.
  • In particular, I expect that AIMS will identify and take, where practicable, opportunities to support new companies to commercialise AIMS's discoveries and expertise.

Communication with My Office and the Department

  • I look forward to AIMS working closely with the Department of lndustry and Science (the department). Aside from regular meetings between you and me, I expect there will be regular meetings between the senior executives of AIMS and the department. I am keen to promote the scientific work of AIMS and encourage you to work with my department in meeting this objective.
  • I expect AIMS to keep me and my department informed, in a timely and accurate way, of significant issues relating to the health and work of the organisation. I also expect AIMS to provide input and information to the department as required ensuring that advice to my office and the Government canvasses relevant issues and sensitivities and reflects a portfolio response. I expect AIMS to provide copies of ministerial briefings and correspondence to the relevant areas of my office and my department, in parallel. Further, I expect AIMS to provide prior notice, to my office and the department, of significant announcements and events that are likely to attract media attention.
  • In accordance with the PGPA Act, I expect AIMS to develop an annual corporate plan and to provide that plan to me, as the responsible portfolio Minister, and the Hon Mathias Cormann Minister for Finance. In developing the corporate plan, I expect AIMS to consult with me and my department, and to take into account the priorities and policies of the Government, especially as articulated in this Statement of Expectations.

Role of the Parliamentary Secretary

As the Minister for Industry and Science, I have overall responsibility for the portfolio, but I have asked the Parliamentary Secretary, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, for support in several areas, including:

  • working with AIMS to ensure their forward work programmes are aligned with the Government's priorities;
  • raising general awareness of these agencies, their expertise and the public investment in their science, research and educational programs; and
  • implementing the Government's response to the Chief Scientist's STEM report.

I expect AIMS to provide Parliamentary Secretary Andrews and her Office with the same level of communication, and timely, accurate advice and information, as to me and my Office, and any related information to my department.

I look forward to receiving your response outlining how the Council proposes to deliver on these priorities.


Yours sincerely,


Ian Macfarlane

Minister for Industry and Science