About the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

We work to develop and protect our agriculture and food sector and aquatic resources, and build vibrant regions with strong economies.

Western Australia's primary industries – including agriculture, commercial fisheries and aquaculture – provide jobs and exports, and underpin a growing food industry and other agribusinesses. Our fisheries also support a thriving recreational fishing sector and regional tourism.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) works to protect the sustainability of natural resources and accelerate ongoing economic growth, job creation and regional development.

An important part of our role is to support the growth of strong regional communities that are desirable places to live, work and invest.

Strategic Intent

Our Strategic Intent 2022-26 has been developed in consultation with key stakeholders and provides a high-level outline of our department’s purpose and priorities.

It will be the peak document in our corporate planning framework and a single point of reference on what all of our work will aim to achieve. It outlines the department’s purpose, role, strategic priorities and key initiatives towards achieving our goals: to protect, grow and innovate in our primary industries and regions in Western Australia over the next three years.

Primary Industries Plan

Following an extensive planning and consultation process, we launched the Primary Industries Plan 2020-2024 to guide the development of Western Australia’s primary industries. We have also published annual updates in 2021 and 2022.

The plan aims to support increasingly sophisticated and globally competitive primary industries which make a significant contribution, and create prosperity across the state.

The Primary Industries Plan:

  • sets clear priorities for investment
  • establishes a platform for strengthened collaboration between government and primary industries
  • supports the department’s Strategic Intent goals of protect, grow and innovate in WA’s primary industries and regions
  • highlights the state’s competitive advantages and current operating context and identifies key themes to guide investment and action
  • outlines current and new initiatives to develop WA’s primary industries.

Our department will oversee the implementation of the plan in collaboration with WA’s primary industries, and state and federal governments.

For more information in relation to the plan please contact Jan-Willem van Staden, Manager Economic Intelligence, at janwillem.vanstaden@dpird.wa.gov.au
 

Our executive team

Our executive team leads the department across operational pillars:

  • Sustainability and Biosecurity: includes biosecurity, resource management, and operations and compliance functions. It helps to ensure Western Australia maintains its enviable reputation as a producer of safe, sustainable and biosecure agricultural and aquatic products.
     
  • Industry and Economic Development: leads our work in research, development and innovation to boost the productivity, profitability and international competitiveness of our agriculture, fisheries and food sectors across the value chain, and grow the value and diversification of our regional economies.
     
  • Primary Industries Development: leads our work in research, development and innovation to boost the productivity, profitability and international competitiveness of our aquaculture, horticulture, grains and livestock industries across the value chain. Its ultimate purpose is to create enduring economic prosperity for Western Australia.
     
  • Corporate Services: supports our staff and ensures that we have the strategy, resources and capability to deliver excellent public services.

For more details, see DPIRD's organisational structure.

Our executive team

Heather Brayford headshot new

Heather Brayford – Director General

Heather has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the public sector, with over 35 years of involvement in fisheries and aquaculture policy, regulation, industry development, biosecurity and natural resource management. Heather thrives on working in partnership with stakeholders and building trust to support positive community outcomes. Before becoming DPIRD’s Director General, Heather served as Director General of the former Department of Fisheries and, most recently, as Deputy Director General with DPIRD. As a two-term Director of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Heather understands the research and development landscape and has developed a strong knowledge of emerging challenges and opportunities for primary industries and the regions. Heather is a recipient of the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Public Service Medal for outstanding public service to legislative reform and policy development in WA.  She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds an MBA and Bachelor of Science.

Bruno Mezzatesta

Bruno Mezzatesta – Deputy Director General, Sustainability and Biosecurity

Bruno is committed to working with stakeholders to support the prosperity and sustainability of our primary industries and regions. He has significant knowledge and experience in the public sector, with almost 40 years spanning across audit, financial policy and operations, corporate services and compliance services delivery around the State. Prior to acting in his current position, Bruno was the Executive Director of Operations and Compliance at DPIRD. He holds a Bachelor of Business Degree and an MBA and is a fellow of CPA Australia and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Paul Issachsen

Paul Isaachsen – Deputy Director General, Industry and Economic Development

Paul comes to DPIRD from the Department of Communities, where as Assistant Director General he held responsibilities for priority initiatives, organisational strategy, data functions and remote Aboriginal communities. He joined Communities in 2017 from the then Department of Regional Development, where he was part of the Regional Services Reform Unit leadership team. Paul has previously worked for the Wunan Foundation in the East Kimberley, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra, and law firm Ashurst. He has degrees in arts, law and public policy, and is passionate about sustainable economic and social development in regional WA.

Cecelia McConnell - Soil and Land Commissioner

Cecilia (Cec) McConnell – Deputy Director General, Primary Industries Development

Western Australia’s former Commissioner for Soil and Land Conservation Cec McConnell has taken on the new role of Deputy Director General, Primary Industries Development. Cec has been an important part of DPIRD’s Executive team since 2020, providing excellent policy and scientific leadership, including overseeing the development of WA’s first Soil Health Strategy. Prior to becoming Commissioner, she ran her own consulting company providing business development, planning and natural resource management (NRM) advice and held board director roles, including with Wheatbelt NRM. She previously held senior leadership roles with the Department of Agriculture and Food, including as a regional director based at Northam. Cec has strong networks in agriculture developed through working and living in regional WA communities over the past 25 years. She holds a degree in geomorphology and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Cec will be working to ensure DPIRD continues to deliver strong research and development outcomes for WA.   

Headshot of Brett Sabien smiling

Brett Sabien – Executive Director, Strategy and Coordination

Brett Sabien has experience working in the Public Sector spanning 35 years. He was most recently DPIRD’s Director of Investment Management, which includes being responsible for the administration of the Royalties for Regions Fund. Brett has worked in the Pilbara and Wheatbelt Regions and has worked on an exchange program in Japan for a year undertaking research into regional development. Brett has extensive experience in matters relating to governance and administration of public funds, evaluation and regional development.

Louise Williams smiling

Louise Williams – Managing Director, Corporate Services

Louise returns to DPIRD as the Managing Director of Corporate Services with a career spanning more than 25 years in strategy development and implementation, change management, Human Resources and organisational transformation within the public sector. Prior to joining DPIRD, Louise held leadership and executive roles at Health Support Services (HSS), which included leading HSS's internal COVID-19 response activities through the pandemic. Louise previously held a number of leadership and management roles at DPIRD and the Department of Fisheries. Louise has a Bachelor of Commerce and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Annual report

Our department's Annual Report 2021 outlines our operations, performance and achievements for the 2020–21 financial year. 

For previous reports, see our annual reports page.  

The Regional Development Commissions produce their own annual reports, which are available on their respective websites.

Regulatory Compliance

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has important statutory functions as a regulator. The document Regulatory Compliance Approach has been prepared to increase community awareness and understanding of the way DPIRD delivers its regulatory compliance responsibilities, and to provide clarity on what primary industries and the Western Australian community can expect from DPIRD as a regulator.

The way DPIRD approaches its regulatory responsibilities should give confidence to the Western Australian community that there is sustainable use of our natural resources and soils, integrity in our biosecurity systems, and strong measures to protect Western Australia’s brand and reputation as a reliable producer of premium, clean and ethical food and products.

DPIRD has strong partnerships with the primary industries sector, and key industry and community stakeholders. These partnerships are important in collaborating to achieve continuous improvement of DPIRD’s regulatory function.

DPIRD is committed to delivering a comprehensive awareness and education program to improve awareness of the legislation, and to increase people’s ability to willingly comply with the regulatory requirements.

DPIRD delivers a range of monitoring, surveillance, inspection, and investigation services. This regulatory compliance program plays an important role in general deterrence to non-compliance with the legislation, and provides confidence to the community that offences will be detected and responded to appropriately and consistently proportionate to risk.

The Regulatory Compliance Approach document outlines the empowered culture of strong, fair, and accountable compliance regulation DPIRD commits to as a regulator, and articulates how the agency will approach regulation of the primary industries and community across all of the legislation it administers.

Reconciliation Action Plan

We are committed to building strong relationships and enhanced respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. 

Our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2019–20 outlines our commitment to reconciliation, and how we aim to improve economic and social outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over the next 18 months. Our RAP also covers the state’s nine Regional Development Commissions.

This plan forms part of our work to create an integrated and unified department that can provide a strong and cohesive service to Western Australia’s primary industries and regions, enabling them to grow and prosper.

To provide feedback on our RAP plan, please email rap@dpird.wa.gov.au

Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 

Our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) for 2018-23 provides strategies for including clients and staff with disability through improved access to information, services and facilities.

The plan is open for ongoing public comment – you can email submissions to daip@dpird.wa.gov.au

For a copy of the plan in an alternative format or to make any other comments, please email daip@dpird.wa.gov.au or phone 61 1300 374 731 (1300 DPIRD1).

Multicultural Policy Framework 2021-26

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Multicultural Plan sets out the tangible ways in which the department and relevant regional development commissions will work to achieve the State Government’s commitment to multiculturalism.

The plan outlines policy priorities, outcomes and strategies of the Western Australian Multicultural Policy Framework (WAMPF) for the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) community of Western Australia. 

It sets out our commitment under three main policy priority areas, to ensure that our operations, services and programs are inclusive and accessible for all:
•    harmonious and inclusive communities
•    culturally responsive policies, programs and services
•    economic, social, cultural, civic, and political participation.

DPIRD is dedicated to taking a planned approach to identifying and creating opportunities for continuous improvement across all our services to ensure inclusivity of all people. 

For further information or to comment on the Multicultural Plan email Organisational Development

Careers

We offer a wide range of employment and career opportunities throughout Western Australia.

Working for us is both challenging and rewarding. We recognise that our people are our greatest asset and strive to create a positive work environment that offers a healthy work-life balance. It is people who drive change through creativity, enthusiasm and commitment.

Our role is to ensure that primary industries and regions are key contributors to the state government’s agenda for economic growth and diversification, job creation, strong communities and better places.

Our values underpin how we operate. They are critical in creating a dynamic culture where each of us makes our best contribution, we feel excited about our work and results, and other people will want to join our team. Our values:

  • We value relationships: our relationships with our clients, colleagues and stakeholders are at the heart of everything we do.
  • We are resilient: we recover from setbacks, embracing and adapting to change because we have a clear focus on the big picture and long term impact.
  • We are responsive: we understand the needs of our clients, colleagues and stakeholders and add value by tailoring our solutions accordingly.
  • We focus on results: We strive to develop and provide excellent services that deliver meaningful results to the community we serve.

Current vacancies

All our current vacancies are advertised on the WA Jobs Board website. Select the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to view and apply for fixed-term and permanent vacancies.

Our department was formed in 2017 through amalgamation. For more information about working for us, see the websites of the former departments of Agriculture and Food and Fisheries and Regional Development.

Complaints management 

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is committed to providing high quality services to meet our customers’ needs. 

We provide our customers the right to lodge a formal complaint if they are not happy with the delivery of the services we provide, or on the performance of our officers.

What is a complaint?

A complaint is any unresolved expression of dissatisfaction raised with the department by, or on behalf of a customer, including members of the public, government agencies, or other external organisations, that relates to the department’s products or services, the performance, behaviour and conduct of staff, or the complaints handling process itself.

A formal complaint must be for the purpose of doing business with the department and the services we provide.

A complaint does not include the following:

  • any contact relating to a product or service, where information or clarification is sought about government policies and/or legislation which is outside the direct control of the department
  • matters that are covered by existing statutory processes that provide appeal mechanisms
  • approaches made directly to the Minister or the Ombudsman Western Australia
  • allegations of misconduct by public officers involving corrupt or criminal activities, which must be reported to the Corruption and Crime Commission
  • disclosures about wrongdoing within the state public sector involving improper conduct or irregular use of public resources, which can be pursued through the Public Interest Disclosure process
  • issues raised by staff about internal matters, which are covered by the department’s grievance policy.

Privacy protected

The department will protect the complainant’s confidentiality and privacy and offer whatever assistance they need to lodge a formal complaint, recognising their right to be heard without fear of retribution and at no charge.

Assistance for customers with special needs

To ensure that customers who need to contact the department are not disadvantaged as a result of language barriers, interpreters can be organised on behalf of customers to assist and documents can be translated into an appropriate language upon request.

If you need help as a result of a hearing or speech impairment the National Relay Service can assist you if you telephone 13 36 77 (free call).

Contact us

If you wish to lodge a formal complaint because you are not satisfied with any aspect of the department’s services provided, please contact us by:

Phone: 61 8 6552 2193

Email: complaint@dpird.wa.gov.au 

Post: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Locked Bag 4
Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983

Online: Submit a complaint form via our Fisheries or Agriculture and Food sites.

Complaints process

Why do we need to know?
Your feedback is important to us as it helps improve our services. If you are unable to lodge a complaint, you may nominate someone to act on your behalf.

What information is needed?

A simple statement telling us the nature of the complaint, contact details of the person lodging the complaint, and the outcome expected to resolve the complaint. Should further information be required, we will contact you.

What will happen then?

Your submission is recorded and the investigation process begins.

When should I receive a reply?

We aim to:

  • respond to telephone messages and acknowledge receipt of emails within 2 business days
  • complete an investigation and respond to formal complaints within 30 business days
  • acknowledge and rectify our errors.

What if I am not satisfied with the response to my complaint?

If you remain dissatisfied, you have the option to refer the matter to the Ombudsman Western Australia.

Ombudsman Western Australia

Phone: 61 8 9220 7555

Phone: 1800 117 000 for callers outside the metropolitan area

Email: mail@ombudsman.wa.gov.au 

Post: Ombudsman Western Australia
PO Box Z5386
St Georges Terrace
PERTH WA 6831

In person: Level 12
44 St Georges Terrace,
Perth, Western Australia

For further information, visit Ombudsman Western Australia.

Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information (FOI) gives the public a right to access government documents, subject to some limitations.

Under the Western Australian Freedom of Information Act 1992 (the FOI Act), you have a right to be given access to documents held by Western Australian state and local government agencies subject to some limitations.

Our department's Information Statement provides further information about the functions of the department and the kind of documents it holds.

You can make an FOI application through the online form at the end of the Submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) access application page, which explains more about FOI.

Page reviewed 6 February 2023