Since 1977, ONA has assessed and analysed international political, strategic and economic developments for the Prime Minister and senior ministers in the National Security Committee of Cabinet. The Director-General of ONA is an independent statutory officer who is not subject to external direction as to the content of ONA assessments.
ONA bases its assessments on all sources of information available to the Australian government, and consults broadly within government and with experts in other sectors. We draw on intelligence as well as diplomatic reporting, other government agencies' information and reporting, and material available from open sources such as news media and commercial or academic publications. (See What we do)
The ONA Act 1977 also charges ONA with the coordination of Australia's foreign intelligence activities and assessing the adequacy of resources to undertake them. The Office oversees responses to any matters of common interest to Australia's foreign intelligence services. To carry out this responsibility we work on intelligence policy and liaison with international partners and manage the process of delivering government intelligence priorities.
The role of the Open Source Centre is to collect and validate open-source information. It produces reports based on this information for ONA and other Australian and allied government agencies. Much of this information is made available to government officials through the Open Source Portal.