AgMemo Northern Agricultural Region

Bigger department benefits agriculture

Mark Webb, Ralph Addis, Mark Sweetingham
Mark Webb, Ralph Addis, Mark Sweetingham

Western Australia’s agriculture and food sector is set to benefit from the State Government’s decision to amalgamate key agencies working to support our primary industries and regions.

From 1 July, the departments of Agriculture and Food; Fisheries; and Regional Development are joining with the staff of the nine Regional Development Commissions to form the new Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

These major structural changes are happening across the public sector to create more collaborative departments focused on whole-of-government objectives to deliver services in a more efficient and effective way.

Ralph Addis has taken on the role of acting Director General of DPIRD to help us build an organisation we can all be proud of, and achieve more together than we can as individual agencies.

Ralph was the Director General of the Department of Regional Development. He hails from a family farm near Cranbrook and has a first-hand appreciation of the challenges of modern agribusinesses.

DAFWA’s former acting Director General Mark Webb is moving on to lead the new Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. Mark has made a major contribution to the department and the sector over the past 14 months.

While our new combined department officially starts operating from 1 July, with all staff brought under the one banner, the full transition of functions and services will take some time longer.

A project management team, including representatives from DAFWA, has been established to guide this transition.

Mark Sweetingham have been appointed as DPIRD’s Deputy Director General for Agriculture and will help navigate this latest evolution of the department.

Given Mark's previous role as Executive Director of Grains Research and Development Transformation, he is well aware of the pressures and opportunities facing the WA agriculture and food sector and is committed to ensuring we are well equipped to take our sector forward.

Mark has expressed his excitement about the future of agriculture and the synergies and opportunities to be generated by working together in a bigger more collaborative department.

During this transition process it is ‘business as usual’ for the agriculture and food staff, who continue to work with the expertise and passion for which they are renowned.

Our valued partnerships remain strong and our research and development activities will stay on track with universities, grower groups and organisations, such as the Grains Research and Development Corporation.  

The Department of Agriculture and Food has had many incarnations over the past 124 years, to enable it to support the continued development of agriculture and food in Western Australia to the sophisticated, modern agribusinesses that we have today.

This is yet another chapter in that proud history, which will enable us to tap into the skills and resources of other aligned departments and pursue significant activities that advance the capability and prosperity of the sector.

We invite all stakeholders to join us along this journey and to keep the lines of communication open so we can build an innovative, relevant and robust department that will meet the needs of the agriculture and food sector for generations to come.

For more information on the department amalgamation visit our homepage