The Department recognises that a multidisciplinary, coordinated approach is crucial to developing effective solutions to environment challenges, and is taking an active role in facilitating more multi-stakeholder partnering.
We invite you to bring forward your ideas for partnering at any time.
Below is an overview of our process to discuss, receive and formally consider partnering proposals. This creates space to develop partnering ideas with stakeholders, while ensuring that we have a fair and transparent process that determines who we partner with.
Stages of the Partnering Proposal assessment
The Department expects to receive a range of Partnering Proposals, both financial and non-financial. The process is designed to encourage stakeholders to approach the Department with partnering ideas, not goods or service offerings or projects that fall within the scope of an existing program. The Department does not have new funding to support partnering proposals. While existing appropriations may be available for some partnering, the Department may or may not be successful in sourcing additional Commonwealth funds. Affordability and value for money will be considered in the assessment process.
If you would like to informally discuss your idea with the Department please contact the Department's Partnerships Team, who will connect you with the right people in the Department.
Developing a Partnering Proposal
A Partnering Proposal is needed for the Department to formally make a decision on whether to be involved with a partnership. Please submit a proposal in accordance with the Guide for Potential Partners when completing a Partnering Proposal.
The Guide will tell you:
- What needs to be in your Proposal and how to submit it
- How the Department assesses Proposals and what criteria will be used
- Principles for respectful Indigenous engagement
- Timeframes for the Department getting back to you
- Commitments and expectations
It’s important that your Partnering Proposal aligns with the purposes and activities of the Department as defined in the Department’s Corporate Plan. We consider that there is opportunity to maximise our collective impact in addressing environmental challenges in these areas in ways that can also create social, cultural and economic value.
There are also a number of existing opportunities for partnering including:
- Conserving Australia’s remarkable species - The Threatened Species Prospectus includes more than 50 community-based projects that are ready to be put into action.
- Advancing Antarctic interests - Through Antarctic Partnerships consider how you can support Antarctic activities, in particular science.
We also recommend that you read the Department’s partnerships risk appetite statement, which provides information about the Department’s enhanced risk tolerance for collaborating with others on partnering ideas.
In considering the Department’s involvement in any partnership, the Department will consider Proposals in a fair and unbiased way in a manner consistent with the legislative and regulatory requirements articulated in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and PGPA Rules; the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs) and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs), to the extent they apply.
If you would like the Department to formally consider your Partnering Proposal, please complete the Partnering Proposal Form and send it to the Department’s Partnerships Team.
Partnering Mapping Tool
The Department has developed the Partnering Mapping Tool to allow partners to develop and share location information. It can be accessed as a link embedded in the Partnering Proposal Form and from the Quick Start Guide to the Partnering Mapping Tool.
The Department is committed to working in partnership with others to address our complex challenges. We have an enhanced risk tolerance for collaborating with others on partnering ideas, and a low risk tolerance for deviating from our partnering assessment process so we are fair, transparent and responsive to all potential partners and select the best partnerships for the Department to be involved in.
For non-unique partnering ideas, that request government funding, we will test the market to ensure efficient and effective use of public money.
Working in partnership carries inherent risk for all partners, and in better practice partnering, risks and benefits are shared. The Department is continuing to engage in partnerships as the opportunities to improve outcomes can be immense. We believe we can pursue partnering opportunities as we have a good management systems in place to consider new partnership proposals, we have existing experience with partnering and we are continuing to build our partnering capacity.
As a Partner, we will actively engage to identify, discuss and manage risks with our partners. We will not dictate that our risk framework is used, as equity is an important principle in partnering, but will require the key principles of sound risk management be adopted. The level of risk we are willing to engage with in partnering arrangements depends on the context, likely outcomes and innovation. Consistent with our Department’s risk appetite statement, we can accept certain risks that enable us to enter into partnerships to:
- achieve our stated purposes and activities efficiently and effectively
- comply with applicable laws and regulations
- conduct our business in a safe and sound manner, with a particular focus on work health and safety.
For example, the Department has a balanced risk tolerance relating to data and information. In considering a partnering idea that involves data sharing and/or data capture the Department will give risk exposure equal consideration to the pursuit of opportunity. Decisions will be based on strategic priorities. Limits to data sharing will be guided by relevant laws and regulations such as Privacy Act 1988. We would avoid arrangements that provide exclusive access to data and commercial advantage for one organisation over another.
Frequently asked questions
No, there is no fee in submitting a Partnering Proposal. Potential Partners are required to meet their own costs in submitting a partnering proposal. For example time spent in preparing a partnering proposal or responding to enquiries from the Department.
Will proposals that relate to a matter currently the subject of an existing open competitive process (tender or grant) be considered?
No. The Guide states that proposals should not duplicate existing efforts or fall within the scope of an existing grant program or procurement within the Department.
A Partnering Proposal can be a valuable means for communicating innovative ideas to the Department. If a Proposal does not satisfy the assessment criteria set out in the Guide in terms of 'uniqueness' but the Department sees merit in the Proposal (or similar), we may consider an approach to market. In the event that a competitive process is considered appropriate, we will respect any intellectual property of the Potential Partner. The Potential Partner may participate in any competitive process.
My proposal contains details on intellectual property that I hold. How will this be treated throughout the process?
The Department will respect any intellectual property of Potential Partners throughout all stages of the assessment process.
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The stages for submitting and assessing your proposal are summarised as follows:
- Partnering Ideas: before submitting your Partnering Proposal Form, you are welcome to contact the Department to discuss your partnering idea
- Stage 1 (Initial Screening): once you have submitted a Partnering Proposal Form, the Department will aim to provide you with the Department's assessment within 20 working days.
- Stage 2 (Detailed Assessment): if your Proposal meets the Stage 1 threshold criteria you may be requested to provide further information for the Department’s assessment of your Partnering Proposal against the assessment criteria.
- Stage 3 (Partnering design and approvals): where the Department determines that a Partnering Proposal should proceed to Stage 3, the Department will seek to coordinate a partnering workshop or similar forum with the Potential Partner to commence the partnering design and approvals. This process could be conducted remotely where the parties are unable to meet in a central location.
- Partnering Agreement: pending the outcome of the partnering workshop or similar forum for scoping and design, the Department and the Potential Partner may agree to partner in principle with formal agreements to follow.