Bills Digest 2 1996-97 Australian Animal Health Council (Live-stock Industries) Funding

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This Digest is prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments.

This Digest was available from 19 July 1996


Passage History

Australian Animal Health Council (Live-stock Industries) Funding Bill 1996

Date Introduced: 26 June 1996
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Primary Industries and Energy
Commencement: Royal Assent


To require the Commonwealth to pay specified amounts of levy and charge it has collected on behalf of the beef, sheep meat, egg, chicken meat and pork industries to the unlisted public company, Australian Animal Health Council Limited.


The Bill forms part of a package of eight Bills aimed at directing funds to the Australian Animal Health Council Ltd. The other Bills in this package set the operative and maximum rates of levy or charge for the purpose of funding AAHC Limited.

Australian Animal Health Council Limited

Australian Animal Health Council Limited (AAHC Limited) is an unlisted public company limited by guarantee. AAHC Limited was established following agreement on 18 August 1995 by the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ).

The objects of AAHC Limited, as specified in its Memorandum of Association, include to:

  • assist the Australian animal health service system in maintaining acceptable national animal health standards aimed at meeting consumer needs and market requirements at home and overseas;
  • advise and advocate action to industry and government on:

(i) strategic national animal health priorities;

(ii) animal health system delivery arrangements and resources;

(iii) nationally consistent animal health policy;

  • establish and manage a national animal health information system;
  • develop, manage and evaluate national animal health programs;
  • have an involvement in residue related issues as they relate to animal health and impact on commercial performances;
  • have international status as the national animal health policy and advisory body;
  • undertake commissioned animal health service projects; and
  • arrange for, or to assist in, research and development into matters pertaining to animal health.

The Articles of Association of AAHC Limited provide that there are three different groups of members of the company, each with equal status. These are the Commonwealth, the State and Territories and industry organisations. Industry organisations include the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, Australian Egg Industry Association, Australian Dairy Farmers' Federation, Australian Veterinary Association Limited, Cattle Council of Australia, Pork Council of Australia Limited, Sheepmeat Council of Australia, Australian Horse Council and Wool Council of Australia.

With respect to funding of AAHC Limited activities, funding will be in three broad groupings. Administration and Operation of AAHC along with Key National Animal Health Programs will be covered by core funding and other National Animal Health Programs will have alternate funding arrangements to be determined on a case by case basis.(1) Administration and Operations will be funded to an amount of $840,000 with a sharing of this amount on a one third each basis by the Commonwealth, States, Territories and industry.(2)

The Key National Animal Health Programs, which are intended to address the national information system and national preparedness with respect to animal diseases, will be financed to an amount of $900,000 for 1995-96 on the same shared basis as for administration and operations.(3) The Key National Animal Health Programs are intended to be the basis for implementing AAHC policy and strategy and addressing relevant national issues. They are intended to each have specific objectives, time frames, performance targets, funding and fund sharing arrangements.

Exotic Animal Disease Preparedness Consultative Council

The functions of the Exotic Animal Diseases Preparedness Consultative Council (EXANDIS) are being subsumed into the Australian Animal Health Council. All provisions of the Exotic Animal Disease Control Act 1989, which established EXANDIS, ceased to have effect on 31 December 1995. The statutory functions of EXANDIS included to inquire into, assess, and report to the Minister on:

  • the adequacy of the strategies and procedures provided in any approved veterinary emergency plan, particularly in relation to planning, implementation, training, plant and equipment; and
  • the social and economic effects of exotic animal disease outbreaks, and principles concerning rehabilitation and compensation.

EXANDIS was funded by the EXANDIS component of levies on laying chickens, live-stock, chicken meat, pig meat, goat meat, milk and wool. The Commonwealth matched industry contributions on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

EXANDIS Recommendations To AAHC Limited

In its final Annual Report EXANDIS urged government and industry to maintain through AAHC Limited a high level of continued activity aimed at protecting Australia against exotic animal diseases and preparing for any outbreaks. EXANDIS considered that the greatest exotic animal disease threats to Australia are foot and mouth disease, Newcastle disease, bluetongue and classical swine fever.

EXANDIS made a number of recommendations to AAHC Limited, including.

  • AAHC Limited should define the field and laboratory services needed to detect an exotic animal disease and respond quickly and effectively to an outbreak.
  • AAHC Limited should define the mix of public and private services, the role of industry in managing disease outbreaks and how these should be audited and reviewed to ensure they comply with domestic and international standards.
  • AAHC Limited continue the national disease watch hotline to facilitate reporting and investigation of any unusual animal incidents and all States and Territories ensure resources are made available to enable this service to continue;
  • AAHC Limited and Commonwealth and State governments recognise the current deficiency of epidemiological data needed for an effective disease surveillance system;
  • AAHC Limited include in future national animal health policy development, the development of management and funding options to enable formation of national animal health emergency task forces which can be put in place and used very quickly for a range of animal health and veterinary public health emergencies; and

AAHC Limited recommend that training of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders in exotic animal disease awareness be incorporated into other training programs being conducted by the Department of Employment, Education and Training and the Department of Health.(4)

Main Provisions

Clauses 4 and 5 require the Commonwealth to pay the Australian Animal Health Council Limited amounts from the Consolidated Revenue Fund equal to what it has collected from the Australian Animal Health Council levy after 1 July 1996 or as penalty for non-payment of levy.

The term Australian Animal Health Council levy is defined by clause 3 to mean a levy or charge the rate of which is set out in the Acts and provisions specified in the table attaching to the definition.


While the provisions of this Bill are of a non controversial technical nature, the use of a non statutory corporation as a disbursement vehicle for public and private funds differs from the more traditional statutory disbursement vehicle in a number of respects, including:

  • the AAHC is not required to prepare an annual report which must be tabled in Parliament;
  • the AAHC is not subject to the Audit Act 1901; and
  • it is unclear whether the AAHC is subject to the Senate Estimates process.


(1) Implementation of an Australian Animal Health Council (AAHC) - A Report to Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand on the Coordination of Animal Health Services in Australia, Executive Summary, July 1995, p. 2.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid., at p. 3.

(4) Exotic Animal Disease Preparedness Consultative Council, Final Report and Annual Report 1994-95, pp. 14-17.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Ian Ireland Ph. 06 277 2438
18 July 1996
Bills Digest Service
Parliamentary Research Service

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

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ISSN 1323-9032
© Commonwealth of Australia 1996

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1996.

This page was prepared by the Parliamentary Library, Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated: 12 July 1996

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