Technical Advisory Committee for the Review of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL)

​​​​​​The Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) set out the requirements livestock exporters must demonstrate have been met to ensure animals presented for export are fit to export and will maintain their health and welfare status throughout the export voyage.

The Australian Government has committed to a comprehensive review of the standards beginning in 2017. This review will build upon the previous ASEL review initiated in 2012.

A technical advisory committee will be appointed to conduct the review in consultation with stakeholders.

The committee

The department has sought applications from suitably qualified members of the public to form the committee that will conduct the review. The committee will operate under a terms of reference, be guided by a committee handbook and receive secretariat support from within the department.

The committee will consist of:

  • one independent chairperson
  • two animal health and welfare specialists
  • one person with a practical understanding of the operational, technical and logistical facets of the live animal export industry
  • one standards development/regulation specialist.

The department conducted an open recruitment process from 27 July to 10 September 2017, seeking applications from suitably qualified members of the public to form the committee.  Members are required to meet specific eligibility requirements (see the committee handbook for further detail) and will be selected on the basis of their skills, experience and qualifications as outlined in the committee roles and responsibilities below. Successful committee members are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

It is expected that the members of the committee will be required for a commitment of approximately 50 to 80 days in the 2017-18 financial year and 30 to 60 days, to a maximum of 60 days, annually thereafter. Committee members will initially be appointed for two years. Both membership and the committee performance will be reviewed after this time to ensure the committee is adequately delivering on the terms of reference.

The review will be conducted as a series of modules. For each module the committee will conduct public submission processes to ensure all interested stakeholders are given the opportunity to participate in the review process.

Roles and responsibilities of technical advisory committee members

The membership structure of the group is to ensure the committee will have a balance of interests and expertise to allow for sound advice to be provided to the department. Committee members will be selected to achieve the best balance of skills across the committee.

All committee members and the chair

All members are responsible for:

  • remaining fundamentally committed to the improvement of animal welfare within a context of the continuation of the trade
  • operating in a transparent, timely and accountable manner
  • ensuring all technical issues, new research and scientific knowledge submitted by stakeholders relating to ASEL have been properly considered by the committee and independent expert advice sought as necessary
  • contributing to the development of clear timelines and work plans for the committee
  • consider whether the problem is serious enough to warrant the Government’s intervention or whether other approaches could be used
  • ensuring the committee’s recommendations are focussed on the intended ASEL objective; ensure animals presented for export are fit for export and will maintain their health and welfare status throughout the export voyage
  • ensuring all interested stakeholders have the opportunity to provide review input
  • developing a priority list of issues for consideration in consultation with the department and stakeholders
  • clearly analysing the benefits and costs of the proposed options for affected stakeholders in a balanced and objective manner.

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The independent chair

The independent chair must have suitable skills and previous experience as a chairperson to:

  • chair meetings. This includes:
    • advising the committee about meeting protocols
    • reminding committee members that they are bound by confidentiality provisions
    • asking for declarations of conflict of interest.
  • facilitate constructive processes that allow for continuous improvement of ASEL
  • ensure work of the committee is conducted efficiently and that recommendations are presented to the department within agreed timelines
  • ensure committee members act in accordance with the guiding principles of the terms of reference in all aspects of operations
  • ensure the committee undertakes appropriate record keeping of decisions and actions
  • provide final approval of meeting papers and recommendations
  • provide progress updates and reporting to the department.

Animal health and welfare experts

The animal health and welfare experts are expected to be well informed about both livestock and broader live export animal health and welfare issues and research developments, domestically and internationally. The animal welfare experts must have suitable skills, experience and qualifications to:

  • plainly interpret scientific animal health and welfare information so that it may be appropriately considered by the committee reference group and incorporated in the standards
  • conduct expert analysis and evaluation of information submitted to the committee in order to:
    • assess the validity of the information,
    • evaluate the impact of different policy options on animal welfare outcomes
  • shape the committee’s recommendations to ensure they deliver the intended animal welfare outcomes
  • assess whether the policy option provided in the recommendation is consistent with OIE standards.

Livestock export industry expert

The livestock export industry expert must have suitable skills and experience with the livestock industry, in livestock handling and logistics, and an understanding of livestock export business processes to:

  • conduct expert analysis and evaluation of technical and practical information relating to the livestock export industry in order to assess the viability and practicalities of different policy options
  • provide advice on the compliance costs and implications to the sustainability of the trade of proposed options for livestock export industry participants.

Standards development/regulatory expert

The standards development/regulatory expert must have suitable skills, experience and qualifications working with government regulation to:

  • review the format of the standards and provide advice on how they can be written:
    • in line with best practice regulatory principles and other relevant standards
    • to allow flexibility in achieving the required animal welfare outcome and
    • encourage innovation in industry practices and adoption of relevant technological improvements
  • ensure the committee recommendations do not duplicate state and territory regulation or existing Australian animal welfare standards
  • ensure the committee’s review of the standards is in line with the Australian Government’s Guide to Regulation.