Chapter 5

Committee views and recommendations

General comments

5.1
Horses hold a unique place in Australia. Dogs and cats are classified as companion animals, and livestock typically refers to cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. Horses, however, can occupy both definitions and for this reason, have found themselves in a regulatory grey zone. Despite being the most dangerous domesticated animal in Australia, horses are also the least regulated.
5.2
This inquiry has drawn attention to the fact that horses have a broad range of uses, including racing, dressage, stock horses and hobby horses. This diverse range of use has resulted in a broad number of stakeholders that make up the 'horse industry'.
5.3
These stakeholders hold both similar and varied ideas of what a horse traceability register would look like, and what purpose it would serve. Those potential functions include strengthening Australia's response to an equine disease outbreak and natural disaster, preventing horse theft, improving rider safety and horse welfare, accessing international horse meat markets, improving breeding practices, tracking the movement of horses and maintaining the integrity of the trade.
5.4
Whilst all of these functions are potentially beneficial to the horse industry, the scope and amount of data needed for such a register would be complex. As already demonstrated by the existing National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), traceability is complex even when designed for a single specific purpose.
5.5
The committee heard overwhelming support for a horse traceability register. This support was expressed across the horse industry, including from the racing industry, which has the largest number of registered horses in Australia. The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the NSW Police Force both offered their support for a national register. Federally, Animal Health Australia conveyed its support for a national register, and the Department of Agriculture stated it could see a benefit of such a system being implemented.
5.6
Based on the evidence submitted to this inquiry, the committee shares the view that a simple national horse traceability register is warranted. Significant national horse events that have occurred in recent years, namely the 2007 Equine Influenza (EI) outbreak, and more recently, the revelations concerning the treatment of horses at abattoirs and knackeries. Both have led to a chorus of voices from across the horse industry advocating for a national horse traceability register.
5.7
However, the committee recognises that the Australian Government lacks the necessary powers needed to progress a national register unilaterally. Rather, the responsibility for the application of a regulatory framework is reliant upon agreement between the state and territory governments.
5.8
For this to occur, these jurisdictions will be required to negotiate on the terms of a national horse traceability register and the application of consistent legislation across Australia. These negotiations would require agreement through the Council of Australian Governments, and as communicated by Animal Health Australia and the Department of Agriculture, establishing legislative and regulatory alignment across all jurisdictions could take a considerable period of time.
5.9
Although the Australian Government does not have a regulatory role concerning horse traceability, it is a conduit to facilitate dialogue, negotiations and the development of regulations between stakeholders. Further, the Commonwealth's biosecurity and horsemeat export trade responsibilities compel it to participate in negotiations. The committee sees the Department of Agriculture and Animal Health Australia playing a vital role in this process.
5.10
The committee is aware of the difficulty of reaching consensus across jurisdictions, as demonstrated by the failed 2012 negotiations between governments and industry to rationalise voluntary microchipping guidelines and regulations across Australia. The Integrity Systems Company's (ISC) experience also identified a number of jurisdictional issues, and highlighted the importance for national agreement on the requirements of traceability; especially that state-based exemptions should be agreed and applied at a national level to limit state-based variations.

Development of a register

5.11
Whilst there are numerous jurisdictional challenges, the committee remains optimistic that consensus between state and territory governments, and across the horse industry, can be achieved. The Australian livestock industry engagement with the creation of the NLIS demonstrate that a national agreement is possible.
5.12
The work of the DPI working group has also played a key role in establishing the necessary collaborative groundwork required to further progress a national horse register. Its activities have brought together NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory. The committee commends the DPI for its work.
5.13
The committee awaits the release of the DPI report to the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee. Based on the evidence provided by the DPI, the committee anticipates a recommendation that a simple national horse traceability register is established. If so, the committee recommends the Department of Agriculture then seeks to establish a national horse traceability working group, under the auspices of the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee, to progress a national horse traceability register. The working group should report to the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee within
12-months of its establishment.

Recommendation 1

5.14
The committee recommends the Department of Agriculture establishes a national horse traceability working group, under the auspices of the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee, to progress the development and implementation of a national horse traceability register. The group should report its findings to the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee within
12-months of its establishment.
5.15
To achieve a truly national traceability register, this national horse traceability working group must include representation from across the horse industry and Commonwealth, state and territory governments. This national horse traceability working group must also include Animal Health Australia, and in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, ensure a national horse register supports the Australian Government's biosecurity responsibilities, which is explored further in the section below.

Recommendation 2

5.16
The committee recommends Animal Health Australia becomes a member of the national horse traceability working group, and in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, ensures a horse traceability register aligns with and bolsters the Australian Government's biosecurity responsibilities.

Biosecurity function (see Chapter 3)

5.17
Of the potential functions proposed for a national horse traceability register, support predominately focused upon its biosecurity function. As noted in this report, a horse traceability system was established during the last significant biosecurity threat to the horse industry. If a disease outbreak was to occur again, then it would be likely that a response could potentially include re-establishing a horse registry of some type.
5.18
The financial implications of a disease outbreak are worthy to note. The EI outbreak of 2007 cost governments $350 million, and the committee was informed that it cost the entire horse industry approximately $2 billion.
5.19
It is essential also to consider the broader financial implications to the horse industry of a disease outbreak. Harness Racing alone is worth approximately $145 million per year to the Australian economy,1 and the thoroughbred industry has reportedly generated $9.1 billion to the economy and supported 79,100 full time equivalent jobs nationally.2 These activities, and the economic activity that surrounds this industry would cease during a disease outbreak. In 2007, the industry was locked down for a period of six months, and took it eleven months for horse industry operations to return to normal.3
5.20
There was a general agreement across industry and government that had a traceability register existed in 2007, then a response to the EI outbreak would have been streamlined. The infrastructure would have existed to determine the location of horse populations across Australia, as well as an ability to communicate directly with horse owners. Although a national traceability register may not eliminate the risk of a disease outbreak, it would be an effective tool to limit its severity and spread.
5.21
Of broader significance is the impact any disease outbreak could have on the livestock industry. Horses do not exist in isolation; instead, they typically exist alongside other livestock. Any disease outbreak runs a risk of cross-infection, and could potentially cost the livestock industry hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars.
5.22
The committee agrees with the sentiment that without a national horse traceability register, we are flying blind in any future significant disease outbreak event. No jurisdiction in Australia has reliable data to determine an accurate number of horses in Australia. Nor is there sufficient information on horse population locations. While methods of communication have changed since 2007, the continual use of livestock traceability systems to fulfil a biosecurity function is symbolic of their worth.
5.23
It is the committee's view that a biosecurity function provides a clear rationale for a national horse traceability register. A system initially designed with a single clear purpose, rather than a broad spectrum of functions, would provide the necessary focus across industry and government to make a traceability register a success.
5.24
With this in mind, it is important to consider the experience of the ISC and its management of the NLIS. Its experience highlights a need for a clear value proposition in order for a register to be successfully adopted across the industry. The committee considers that a register with a biosecurity purpose is a clear value proposition that can be agreed to by all stakeholders. This single clear objective also supports and informs communication, education and enforcement considerations.

Recommendation 3

5.25
The committee recommends that the national horse traceability working group works towards establishing a national horse traceability register that, at its core, serves a biosecurity function.

Data requirements (see Chapter 3)

5.26
Due to the committee's view that a national horse traceability register should primarily serve a biosecurity function, the data requirements needed to fulfil this function would include the following:
a microchip number (which includes a universal equine life number);
a Property Identification Code;
owner's contact details and location; and
the origin of the source data.
5.27
In addition, the inclusion of data about a horses' use may be of value; however, the committee has reservations about whether this information requirement would detract from the overall goal of developing a simple traceability register.
5.28
Evidence provided to this inquiry revealed a high level of support across the horse industry to provide their registers' data to a central database. This process would avoid the duplication of existing systems and minimise the risk of unnecessary regulatory burden upon the industry. The committee supports this data-sharing approach through the use of blockchain technology that enables regular and secure data transfers to a national register.
5.29
The committee, therefore, is of the view that the national horse traceability working group consults widely with the horse industry to develop a national register populated by data on existing industry databases. This database should also allow for one horse to be registered across multiple industry registers, and meet the minimum data requirements specific above.

Recommendation 4

5.30
The committee recommends that the national horse traceability working group consults with the horse industry to develop a national register that is populated by data found on existing industry databases. This data-sharing arrangement should:
be shared through the use of blockchain (or equivalent) technology that enables regular and secure data transfers between registers;
allow for one horse to be registered across multiple industry registers; and
at a minimum, include the following data—
a microchip number (including a universal equine life number);
a Property Identification Code;
owner's contact details and location; and
the origin of the source data.
5.31
The committee acknowledges stakeholders' concerns about the accuracy of existing databases but is of the view that errors will be identified and corrected through the register's rollout.
5.32
The committee also calls for a national horse register that is designed to accommodate horse owners that are not associated with any industry group, such as farmers, the recreational sector and horse owners in remote locations.

Recommendation 5

5.33
The committee recommends a national horse register is designed to accommodate data uploads by horse owners that are not associated with any industry group, such as farmers, the recreational sector and horse owners in remote locations.

Potential secondary functions (see Chapter 3)

5.34
Although the committee considers a biosecurity rationale as the most purposeful function, a horse traceability register would likely fulfil secondary functions. These secondary functions may include:
a means to identify horses that are misplaced during environmental disasters;
to assist law enforcement officers with their investigations into lost or stolen horses;
potential identification of dangerous horses and assurance of a horse's suitability for its intended purpose;
improved horse welfare through a register's ability to link a horse with its owner, and support efforts by the racing industry to re-home retired horses;
improved understanding of the number of horses killed in Australia's abattoirs and knackeries each year;
improved breeding practices and reducing wastage in the industry; and
meeting the European Union's horse meat safety requirements.
5.35
At this stage, the committee does not support the initial development of a system that integrates the tracking of a horse's movements outside of the location it usually resides, but remains open to this design being integrated at the volition of industry itself at a future date.
5.36
Although the committee is supportive of a more simple national register that serves one core biosecurity function, it also agrees with stakeholders' view that the system should be designed to enable additional features to be incorporated. These additional features may be designed to address any of the secondary functions detailed above. However, the committee does not believe Commonwealth, state and territory governments should be responsible for the ongoing development of any additional functions of a national register. Instead, these features should be driven and paid for by the horse industry itself and offered as additional functionality for a fee.

Recommendation 6

5.37
The committee recommends that the national horse traceability working group works towards a national horse traceability register design that enables additional features to be incorporated into the system as it progresses, and allows for the horse industry to take responsibility for any future functionality amendments. Such functionality amendments could assist with improving animal welfare, emergency response management, rider safety and the integrity of trade in horses.
5.38
To guide and support the work of the national horse traceability working group, the committee also recommends that the United Kingdom's Central Equine Database and Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are consulted to assist with the development of an equivalent register in Australia. This consultation should include reference to developing a system with the potential for expanded functionality.

Recommendation 7

5.39
The committee recommends that the national horse traceability working group consults with the United Kingdom's Central Equine Database and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to help inform the development of an Australian equivalent register.

Treatment of horses at abattoirs and knackeries

5.40
The committee, like all Australians, was appalled by the footage revealed as part of the 7:30 investigation into the treatment of horses at abattoirs and knackeries. The investigation brought to light significant problems with the existing system, namely the inhumane treatment of horses in those facilities, and the lack of a traceability system that enables the racing industry to determine the whereabouts of its horses after they leave the industry. Compounding this issue is the lack of accurate data about the number of horses that are processed through Australia's abattoirs and knackeries.
5.41
The committee reminds readers that the welfare issues identified as part of the ABC's investigation are outside the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. Efforts to address the welfare concerns of horses are therefore the responsibility of state and territory governments. However, the committee is supportive of the Queensland Government's animal cruelty probe into alleged mistreatment of horses arriving at the facility that featured in the 7:30 report. Further, the committee is pleased that the Department of Agriculture has commenced a critical incident audit of the facility to ensure it aligns with Australia's international horsemeat trade obligations (discussed further below).
5.42
The 7:30 investigation re-ignited calls for a national horse traceability register. Of the potential secondary functions previously detailed, the committee emphasises consideration of a national register's function to support efforts by the racing industry to re-home retired horses and restrict thoroughbred horses from ending up in Australia's abattoirs and knackeries. It is evident from this inquiry, and the 7:30 investigation, that more must be done to limit the number of horses being killed in abattoirs and knackeries, and to hold the racing industry accountable for the ongoing welfare of its horses after they retire from the industry. Further, more must be done to improve the racing industry's collection of data about the movement of its horses once they retire from the industry.
5.43
The committee also sees potential for a national horse registry incorporating a function that facilitates the collection of identification numbers of horses killed in abattoirs and knackeries. This data will help governments and industry understand the real number of horses killed each year and address wastage in the system and improve breeding practices. The committee notes that the development of this function would also require investment into the technological infrastructure needed to read, record and upload microchip data at these facilities.
5.44
The committee does, however, emphasise the importance of developing a simple national horse traceability register that primarily fulfils a biosecurity function. Based on evidence received during this inquiry, the committee is concerned that the initial inclusion of too many functions may undermine the progression of a national horse traceability register. Despite this concern, the committee recommends that the racing industry engages with the national horse traceability working group to consider how the register would compliment efforts to track retired horses.

Recommendation 8

5.45
The committee recommends that the national horse traceability working group, in partnership with the racing industry, works towards the development of a national horse traceability register that compliments efforts by the racing industry to track retired horses.
5.46
Further, the committee is concerned by the absence of information and data concerning the number and origin of horses killed at Australia's abattoirs and knackeries. For this reason, the committee sees value in the national horse traceability working group engaging with owners of abattoirs and knackeries to integrate a national register into processing practices for horses.

Recommendation 9

5.47
The committee recommends that the national horse traceability working group engages with owners of abattoirs and knackeries to integrate a national horse traceability register into processing practices for horses.

Horsemeat industry

5.48
In addition to the development of a traceability system that seeks to improve the welfare of horses exiting the racing industry, the committee supports a horse traceability register being designed to meet Australia's horsemeat trade obligations, namely the EU's mandated requirement for a central database that maintains identification records to ensure drug residues are kept out of the food system.
5.49
Whilst existing processes appear to be tolerated by the EU, the committee is concerned that the existing system does not meet EU standards. Further compounding this concern, was evidence that horses exiting the racing industry were being processed at an export abattoir and for this reason, may potentially expose international consumers to chemicals that are known to have adverse health impacts when consumed by humans.
5.50
The committee is encouraged by the Department of Agriculture's announcement that a critical incident audit of the Queensland abattoir had commenced, and anticipates regulatory action to ensure Australia's horsemeat industry meets safety standards being undertaken as necessary. To complement this action, the committee is of the view that the design of a national register must meet the EU's horsemeat trade standards.

Recommendation 10

5.51
The committee recommends that the Department of Agriculture ensures the national horse traceability working group considers designing a national horse traceability register that meets the European Union's horsemeat trade standards.

Key challenges ahead (see Chapter 4)

5.52
Though the committee is supportive of a simple national traceability register designed to fulfil a biosecurity function, it foresees significant challenges ahead. These challenges are discussed below.

Fragmented industry

5.53
This inquiry has revealed to the committee the fragmented nature of the horse industry. The diverse range of interest groups and their sectorial needs has been one of the barriers to the development of traceability. The committee witnessed numerous stakeholders communicating their specific needs, with a lack of a unified message of what a national register would look like and achieve.
5.54
Compounding this issue is the lack of a peak-industry body capable of navigating the needs of the entire industry, which ranges from powerful groups such as Racing Australia and Racing NSW to small breed societies like the Welsh Pony and Cobb Society of Australia. The Australian Horse Industry Council (AHIC) holds the potential to fulfil this function; however, the committee heard that maintaining membership with the AHIC has been a challenge due to the lack of consensus on some issues.
5.55
While consensus appears to be achievable for a register to serve a biosecurity function, the committee remains concerned that the recreational sector may not be convinced by its need, and its subsequent costs. This sector makes up at least 30 per cent of the horse industry, and its lack of voluntary engagement with a traceability register could severely undermine a register's ability to fulfil its intended purpose.
5.56
The committee is of the view that a unified industry front is necessary to provide the impetus to engage with Commonwealth, state and territory governments effectively, and to reach agreement on the form and function of a national register. This committee calls for the AHIC to fulfil this function, and negotiate and communicate the specific requirements of the industry. The committee urges the horse industry to achieve a consensus on the function and rationale for a horse traceability register, and in particular, to engage with those horse owners who operate outside of an industry body.
5.57
Once a unified and agreed form and function is established through internal horse industry negotiations, then the committee calls for horse industry representatives to become members of the national horse traceability working group.

Recommendation 11

5.58
The committee recommends representatives from the horse industry, including the Australian Horse Industry Council, the racing industry and animal welfare representatives, such as from the RSPCA, become members of the national horse traceability working group.

Funding considerations

5.59
Despite the extensive evidence presented during this inquiry, it remains difficult to determine the overall cost of a national horse traceability register. The committee understands that the lack of definite data on horse numbers in Australia contributes to this problem, as does the absence of horse registers across the various industry sectors.
5.60
The committee anticipates that the DPI working group's report may provide a cost-benefit analysis of horse traceability, as well as a model to estimate the cost of a register. The costs associated with a national register include:
initial seed funding to create a national register;
setup costs (such as microchipping Australia's horse population); and
secure, long-term funding for the register's management, including education, compliance activities and system improvements.
5.61
Each of these associated costs is individually considered below.

Seed funding

5.62
A primary challenge to establishing a national horse traceability register is agreement across governments and industry of who should pay for the register. As demonstrated in Chapter 4, the committee heard opposing views as to who should pay, with some industry groups refusing to offer funds or lacking the financial means to do so. Some stakeholders called for the more profitable sectors of the horse industry, in particular, the racing industry, to contribute more funds to its establishment.
5.63
The committee heard a range of estimates of how much a national horse register would cost, ranging from $2 million to $10 million. However, the committee considers existing registers are an indicator of the potential cost. The ISC advised the committee that the total investment in the NLIS database and associated support services over a 12-year period was approximately $65 million. Australian Pork Limited received seed funding of $1,228,338 over three years from the Commonwealth. Based on these figures, the committee anticipates the initial cost to be substantive.
5.64
The anticipated costs make it prohibitive for any one jurisdiction or industry group to be solely responsible for funding a national horse register. Further, the committee is of the view that the overall benefit of a register to the horse industry provides sufficient rationale for the industry itself to contribute funding to a national register. The committee, therefore, recommends the national horse traceability working group consider the adoption of a co-investment model. This model would oblige Commonwealth, state and territory governments, as well as the horse industry itself, to provide the necessary seed funding required for a national horse traceability register.
5.65
While the committee is supportive of a co-investment model, it is not in a position to determine how these costs should be equitably distributed. It is also cognisant of the expectation and overreliance placed upon specific sectors of the horse industry, and the financial constraints of smaller horse associations and groups.

Recommendation 12

5.66
The committee recommends the national horse traceability working group consider the adoption of a co-investment model that obliges Commonwealth, state and territory governments, as well as the horse industry, to provide the necessary seed funding required for a national horse traceability register.

Setup costs

5.67
The committee heard conflicting views about the setup costs associated with a national horse traceability register. Of primary concern is the cost of inserting a microchip into every domesticated horse in Australia. For some stakeholders, this setup cost is minimal and equivalent to a regular horseshoe replacement cost; whereas others are of the view that this cost is prohibitive, particularly in regional Australia.
5.68
While some sectors of the horse industry, such as the racing sector, have already introduced compulsory microchipping for its members, there remains a substantive number of horses in Australia that are without microchips. The horse population without microchips is largely made up of horses from the recreational sector, or those horses found in remote locations.
5.69
The committee is concerned that the recreational sector is the least equipped to bear the additional cost of microchipping, and for this reason, may be disinclined to participate in a national register. Further, these horse owners may legitimately question the rationale of this expense if their horse(s) never leave their property.
5.70
The committee is also concerned with the cost burden carried by those horse owners located in remote locations. The committee foresees these owners being exposed to additional veterinarian fees and travel costs if microchipping was to become mandatory.
5.71
Potential solutions proposed to the committee vary, including exemptions, the use of technology, and delayed application of a microchip. The committee notes the need for exemptions for horse owners in certain circumstances; however, the committee is concerned that exemptions may undermine the intended purpose of a national horse traceability register and may add complex elements to the management of the system.
5.72
The committee sees significant benefit of a delayed rollout of the microchipping requirement for a national horse traceability register. This approach has been adopted by the United Kingdom, and provides sufficient time for a microchip to be inserted during a regular veterinarian check-up. Whilst this approach does not remove financial responsibility for the microchip from horse owners, it does allow time for owners to reserve the necessary funds needed for the procedure to occur and to integrate it into a regular veterinarian check-up.
5.73
Although the committee understands the substantial costs associated with horse ownership, it also considers a national horse traceability register as a means to reduce the risk of more substantive costs being carried by the industry. In particular, potential costs associated with a disease outbreak, and subsequent immunisation requirements, which may be onerous and ongoing.

Recommendation 13

5.74
The committee recommends that, if microchipping is a requirement under a national traceability register, the national horse traceability working group considers a phased approach to the microchipping requirement.
5.75
An additional option that may alleviate the cost burden is the use of biometric technology with the identification of horses. The committee is supportive of the use of this technology; however, questions whether this technology is ready for integration into a national register. Despite this reservation, the committee sees value in the consideration of a biometric identification function being integrated into a national horse traceability register.

Recommendation 14

5.76
The committee recommends the national horse traceability working group consider the viability of integrating a biometric identification function into a national horse traceability register.

Secure, long-term funding

5.77
To ensure the ongoing viability and functionality of a national horse traceability register, it is vital that secure, long-term funding is available. The committee is concerned by the ISC's experience that the erosion of funding over time has undermined compliance and system improvements. Further, it is imperative that ongoing funding is provided to ensure new entrants into the system can be informed about their obligations under a national traceability scheme.
5.78
The committee foresees several challenges regarding a register's long-term financial viability. The first is whether a user-pays system is appropriate, or whether base-level data is uploaded and made publicly available. Any subsequent costs to access the register may have an impact on whether a national register is adopted across the horse industry. Further, the committee is also conscious of stakeholders' concern that horse owners could potentially be paying for accessing their data on two (or more) registers.
5.79
Alternatively, the horse industry itself may be held accountable for the long-term funding arrangements of the register; however, this funding stream may be reliant upon a system designed with value-add functions that industry bodies are willing to pay for.
5.80
Finally, an additional option could be a national register funded through a levy system. The committee is concerned that the application of a levy to the horse industry is more complex than similar levies applied to cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
5.81
The committee encourages the national horse traceability working group to explore all options and consult widely with stakeholders with regard to long-term funding options.

Access, privacy and oversight (see Chapter 4)

5.82
The committee emphasises the importance of balancing access to information with the privacy of users' data and personal information. A national register must be protected from misuse and adhere to Australia's privacy laws.
5.83
The committee has not made a determination about how to manage and access information on a national database. Advocates for a more transparent system argue it is needed to help inform consumer's choice before purchasing a horse, or to address fraud in the industry. Conversely, other stakeholders argued for a more restrictive system that allows for pre-determined organisations and government bodies to access to stored data.
5.84
The committee sees benefit of developing a system that is similar to the CED's identification requirements; however, the inquiry received insufficient evidence to make a final determination on this matter. The committee believes the national horse traceability working group will be best placed to review the access and privacy requirements of the register.
5.85
Concerning oversight and management of the system, the committee is pleased with the ISC comment that it would look at hosting a horse traceability register, if established. The committee considers the ISC the most qualified and informed body with the necessary expertise to progress and manage a national horse traceability register. It does, however, acknowledge that some members of the livestock industry may object to horse traceability being integrated into existing traceability infrastructure. Rather than hinder the development of a horse traceability register, the committee encourages members from the livestock industry to support its development as a means to remove an existing vulnerability in Australia's biosecurity regime.

Compliance, enforcement and education (see Chapter 4)

5.86
The committee emphasises the importance of ensuring that an adequate compliance, enforcement and education regime is designed as part of a national horse traceability register. The committee is, however, cognisant of the considerable resources and potential challenges that may hinder compliance and enforcement.
5.87
Further, the committee calls for a national horse register that fosters stakeholder investment into the system to further strengthen compliance. In order to achieve this investment, the register must be of value to the horse industry and be driven by a commercial interest. Further, the committee recommends the national horse traceability working group considers the key challenges identified by the ISC concerning compliance and enforcement.

Recommendation 15

5.88
The committee recommends the national horse traceability working group considers the key challenges identified by the Integrity Systems Company concerning compliance and enforcement, which include:
defining the role of industry versus the role of government concerning compliance and enforcement;
the reduction of resources to support compliance and enforcement over time; and
the penalties applied to breaches of traceability, which fail to discourage non-compliance.
5.89
The committee also agrees with the ISC's view that emphasis should be made on education, communication and training. Further, the committee reiterates the importance of ensuring adequate and ongoing funding is provided for a horse traceability register's education program. It is vital that members of the horse industry, whether they be new or old, are continually educated on their responsibilities under a national horse traceability register. Failure to do so may result in non-compliance and minimal investment in the system.
5.90
Based on this evidence, the committee is supportive of the working group considering the educational requirements needed to re-inforce industry compliance with a national register.

Recommendation 16

5.91
The committee recommends the national horse traceability working group considers the educational requirements needed to re-inforce industry compliance with a national horse traceability register.
5.92
Finally, due on the invaluable advice provided to this inquiry by the ISC, the committee recommends the ISC is engaged to provide its expertise to progress a national horse traceability register.

Recommendation 17

5.93
The committee recommends the national horse traceability working group engages the Integrity Systems Company's expertise to progress a national horse traceability register.

Horse traceability trial (see Chapter 4)

5.94
The committee is in agreement that an appropriate pathway to progress a national horse traceability register is to implement a trial. The committee is aware of the DPI's concerns about its implementation, and the warning offered by the ISC about ensuring consistency is established to minimise differences between jurisdictions.
5.95
Finally, the committee calls for consideration of a trial program following the establishment of a national horse traceability register. A trial may be applied to a single or collection of jurisdictions (for example, Victoria, NSW and Queensland) or alternatively, be applied to specific sectors of the horse industry with the pre-existing infrastructure needed for a horse traceability register.

Recommendation 18

5.96
The committee recommends that the national horse traceability working group works towards the adoption of a trial program following the establishment of a national horse traceability register. The trial may be applied to a single or collection of jurisdictions, or alternatively, be applied to specific sectors of the horse industry.
Senator Glenn Sterle
Chair


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