OGTR service charter

This service charter outlines the commitment of the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) to provide quality services to the public and users of Australia’s scheme for gene technology regulation.

The Charter also outlines the steps available should there be any shortfall in these standards.

About us

The OGTR provides administrative support to the Gene Technology Regulator (the Regulator) in the performance of their functions under the Gene Technology Act 2000 (the Act).

The Act, which started on 21 June 2001, represents the Australian Government component of Australia’s nationally consistent scheme for the regulation of gene technology. Each state and territory has enacted, or is enacting, corresponding legislation.

The OGTR is located in Canberra and comprises scientific, legal, professional, administrative, and monitoring and compliance staff who are committed to keeping up to date with developments in research and regulation around the world. The OGTR is a business unit of the Australian Government Department of Health.

Our role and functions

In administering the Act, the Regulator is responsible for protecting the health and safety of people and the environment by identifying risks posed by or as a result of gene technology, and by managing those risks through regulating certain dealings with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

‘Dealings’ with GMOs include conducting experiments with, making, developing, producing, breeding, propagating, growing, importing, transporting or disposing of GMOs.

The Regulator also accredits organisations to conduct work with GMOs, certifies containment facilities used for dealings conducted under the Act, and conducts monitoring and compliance activities.

The Regulator is committed to maintaining strong working relationships, and consults widely on key decisions with expert advisory committees, state and territory governments, the Australian Government Environment Minister, other regulatory authorities and the community.

This consultation process is critical to maintaining the effectiveness, credibility and responsiveness of the regulatory scheme.

Our values

The OGTR complies with the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct in all aspects of its business.

The OGTR values

  • professional
  • transparent
  • accountable
  • proactive
  • collaborative
  • responsive
  • respectful
  • inclusive
  • ethical
We value:
  • accountability: through open and transparent processes
  • achievement: through effective, efficient and flexible work practices which are focused on delivering timely outcomes
  • respect for each other and our stakeholders: through open and effective communication and quality service
  • professionalism: through integrity, objectivity, excellence, commitment and consistency.

Our service delivery

OGTR staff are committed to delivering high-quality service and to being courteous, considerate, impartial, consistent, honest, ethical and professional.

You can expect OGTR staff to:
  • support the Regulator to meet the statutory responsibilities and time frames set out in the Act
  • provide relevant and easy-to-understand responses to letters and emails in a timely manner
  • return phone calls within two working days
  • provide contact details in written correspondence
  • provide background information and reasons for decisions if you request it
  • try to refer you to the appropriate organisation if your enquiry is outside the OGTR’s scope
  • try to provide all relevant public information on our website
  • align our practices with the ethical principles articulated in the National Framework of Ethical Principles in Gene Technology 2012
  • respect your rights to privacy and confidentiality.
Monitoring and compliance staff treat reports of incidents or suspected breaches with the highest priority.

To make sure that we meet the needs of our clients, we conduct service delivery surveys using the standards of customer service outlined in this service charter. Feedback is very important to us and we use it for continuous improvement.

You can read information online about an OGTR client satisfaction survey conducted in 2008 (prepared by ORIMA Research P/L). This service charter was reviewed in light of the results of the online service delivery survey and we will conduct future reviews at regular intervals.

What to expect from the OGTR

OGTR staff are committed to maintaining quality service standards and place a high value on:
  • treating you with courtesy at all times
  • listening and responding to all matters of concern
  • explaining our processes and requirements in a way you can understand
  • being objective in our dealings with you
  • keeping our discussions with you confidential
  • offering face-to-face meetings to facilitate communication.

Your role

For effective service and communication, we encourage you to:
  • treat our staff with courtesy and respect
  • allow us sufficient time to respond to your requests
  • respond to our requests for information accurately and in a timely manner
  • be open and honest to further strengthen relationships
  • understand and abide by any legal requirements and other obligations under the Act concerning gene technology and dealings with GMOs.

Your complaints

Should the OGTR fail to meet these service charter standards, or if you experience any difficulties with our operations, please:
  • try to resolve this with the staff member you are dealing with
  • ask to talk to the staff member’s manager if you are not satisfied with the staff member’s response or if we are not meeting our service commitments
  • make a written complaint to the Regulator.
If you are not satisfied with the Regulator’s response you may raise your concerns with the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman by:
  • phoning 1300 362 072
  • writing to the Commonwealth Ombudsman (GPO Box 442, Canberra City ACT 2601)

Contact us

We are interested in your views about our service and our service charter. If you would like to make any suggestions for improvements, please contact us.

Content within this section