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

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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

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Following an extensive planning and consultation process, we have launched the Primary Industries Plan 2020-2024 to guide the development of Western Australia’s primary industries.

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 Alison Wilson, Manager Coordination, Strategy and Coordination on alison.wilson@dpird.wa.gov.au

Our executive team

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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.
  • Capability and Performance: 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

Ralph Addis, Director General of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Ralph Addis  – Director General

Ralph brings a wealth of experience from the private, not-for-profit and government sectors. He has a natural affinity for regional WA, having grown up on a farm at  Cranbrook, and spent much of his working life in Kununurra. Ralph has held commercial, not-for-profit and local government board positions and was most recently Director General at the former Department of Regional Development. He is a Chartered Accountant, holds a degree in Commerce and a Master of Agricultural Economics and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Heather Brayford, DPIRD Deputy Director General, Sustainability and Biosecurity

Heather Brayford – Deputy Director General, Sustainability and Biosecurity

As Deputy Director General, Sustainibility and Biosecurity, Heather seeks to ensure that Western Australia's enviable biosecurity and sustainability status is maintained and protected. With more than 30 years’ experience in fisheries and aquaculture, public policy, regulation, biosecurity and natural resource management, Heather thrives on ensuring the department continues to meet its strategic objectives and is a leader in natural resource management and biosecurity. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a recipient of the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Public Service Medal for outstanding public service to legislative reform and policy development in WA.

Liam O'Connell from DPIRD

Liam O'Connell – Deputy Director General, Industry and Economic Development

Liam was appointed acting Deputy Director General, Industry and Economic Development in June 2021. He brings substantial public and private sector, international and local economic development experience to the role, along with an ability to build strong collaborative networks with industry and government. Liam has contributed significantly to the development of the department since its establishment with a focus on economic diversification, value adding, trade and investment. Prior to this role, he was Executive Director of Agribusiness Food and Trade. He is committed to building vibrant regions, sustainable and prosperous primary industries and long-term Aboriginal economic development.

Carl Binning, Acting Managing Director, Capability and Performance, DPIRD

Carl Binning – Deputy Director General, Primary Industries Development

Carl Binning joined DPIRD in January 2020 as Executive Director Strategy and Coordination and took on the role of acting Managing Director Capability and Performance in June 2020. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the management of natural resources throughout Australia, including most recently as an executive director at the Murray Darling Basin Authority. Carl has held leadership roles across government, industry, community sector, research and consulting organisations, including at BHP Billiton’s iron ore business, Greening Australia and CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.

Alex Lyon – Managing Director, Capability and Performance

Alex Lyon – Managing Director, Capability and Performance

Alex Lyon joined the department to lead our Capability and Performance team in April 2021. He was previously the Government’s head of industrial relations, implementing reforms such as Wages Policy, conversion to permanency, COVID-19 workforce arrangements, and sector-wide reviews of employment settings. Alex was also a member of the Service Priority Review secretariat in 2017, examining information and communications technology (ICT) transformation, performance and accountability, and agency ‘red tape’ reduction.


Alison Wilson  – Executive Director, Strategy and Coordination at DPIRD

Alison Wilson – Executive Director, Strategy and Coordination

Beginning in the Executive Director position in May 2021, Alison Wilson is driven to build strategic clarity of the role of government in primary industries and regional development. She spent the first decade of her career working in international development supporting the agricultural sector and rural communities in developing countries. Alison returned to Australia to complete her doctorate in agricultural economics. This unique background has been the basis for her years of experience in public policy in Western Australia. Alison is passionate about thriving, sustainable primary industries and regions that support the future of Western Australia.

Cecelia McConnell - Soil and Land Commissioner

Cecilia (Cec) McConnell – Soil and Land Commissioner 

Cec brings her unique combination of skills in Natural Resource Management to DPIRD, alongside experience as a business and farm land owner. She also provides the benefit of her experience in senior leadership roles with the former Department of Agriculture and Food. From a background in hydrology and geomorphology, Cec has strong networks in agriculture developed through working and living in regional WA communities over the past 25 years. Cec contributes diversity of skill to the executive team and a passion to see natural resource management underpin agriculture and regional development. She holds a degree in geomorphology, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has previously worked as a director of several not-for-profit boards.

Annual report

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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.

Reconciliation Action Plan

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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 

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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).


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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 

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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

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

For further information, visit Ombudsman Western Australia.

Freedom of Information

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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 24 November 2021