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Please refer directly to the
policy on the appointment and use of non-departmental authorised officers to undertake prescribed functions under the Export Control Act 1982 and its sub-orders when reading the supporting information below.
The department recommends that the employer representative emails the
AAO Coordinator to indicate they will be seeking appointment of authorised officer(s). A checklist will be returned to assist in the collation of evidence to provide the department.
Employers may choose to progress the prescribed nationally recognised qualification and/or authorised officer induction training while the applicant is obtaining evidence to provide with the application form.
Employers should consider pre-screening applicants for appointment to minimise unnecessary training if the AAO applicant does not meet department criteria as laid out in the application form.
Processing your application:
Processing times should take no more than
10 business days, if the applicant has provided ALL the supporting documentation at the time of submitting the application to the department.
It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to provide the department with all supporting documentation as evidence at the time of submitting the application. Some documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing. Delays may occur and extend the processing time where further documentation is requested to support the application.
If the applicant is assessed by the department as meeting all these requirements, they will be appointed as an authorised officer by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (or his delegate). Appointment as an authorised officer will be confirmed by email. The email requests that a copy of the IOA be given to the employer of the authorised officer, company representative (if different to the employer) and to the OPV at that establishment.
A letter and ID card will be sent to the authorised officer’s employer at the address provided in the application form. The authorised officer will be required to return an acknowledgement that they received their ID card and are aware of the conditions of use of the ID card.
The process for applying to become an Australian Government Authorised Officer (AAO) involves the applicant:
- Completing the latest version of the application form which includes:
- Evidence of residency status within Australia.
- providing certified copies of qualifications that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources accepts for the appointment to the position of an AAO.
- providing a certified copy of a recently attained (within 30 days of date of signing the application) national police check from the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
- providing evidence of Q fever immunity status.
- evidence of Australian residency status and other identification requirements.
- relevant previous experience and employment.
- details of any pending criminal charges.
- digital passport photo (refer to Digital Passport Photos requirements for authorised officer applications information sheet PDF [233 KB, 1 page]).
- Undergoing and successfully completing species capability assessments by a departmental veterinarian. The AAO must be capable of performing inspection in an operational environment to the required level on the species at which the applicant has identified in their application.
- Passing a department–recognised AAO induction training course run by a Registered Training Organisation.
- Undergo a formal information session provided by a Registered Training Organisation or a departmental senior officer. The information session also includes an assessment that must be completed prior to signing a deed of obligations.
- Signing a Deed of Obligations
1. Application form
Applicants must complete
latest version of the application form and send it to the department address located in section 19 of the form. Note that superseded versions of the form will not be accepted. The application form requires the applicant to provide information about
- personal and contact details
- evidence of residency or citizenship status
- 100 point identification check and passport photos
- relevant species – approval of the AAO is limited to species in which they have competency to inspect
- Q fever immunity (for applicants working with animals other than pigs)
- previous appointments and work experience
- employment details
- establishment management declaration
- conflict of interests disclosure
- AFP national police check
- details of any pending criminal charges
- declaration and signature.
For sections that are not self explanatory, additional information is provided below.
2. Advice for applicants of temporary, bridging or skilled migration visa holders in Australia
The applicant must ensure they are permitted by, or under, Australian law to work in Australia and to perform the Services of an AAO.
Where an applicant is a non-citizen or non-permanent resident of Australia, the applicant should discuss and obtain documentary evidence from the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection to support their application.
The status of an AAO is regarded as more highly skilled incidental employment. In 2012, the Department of Home Affairs (at that time was the Department of Immigration and Citizenship) advised this department that, if a lawfully employed temporary resident engaged by Industry as a skilled meat worker has exceeded incidental employment as an AAO by more than 10 per cent, then the skilled meat worker migrant is in breach of their visa requirements and meat labour agreement.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will consider applications from persons interested in becoming appointed as an AAO and who are non-citizens or non-permanent residents of Australia provided the applicant:
- can demonstrate that they meet all immigration requirements to date and attached documentary evidence from the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection to support their application as an authorised officer.
- provide a certified copy of the applicant’s eligible temporary stay visa and foreign passport details. The applicant and applicant’s employer acknowledges that the applicant CANNOT perform AAO duties for more than 10 per cent of their time as a skilled meat worker.
- provides evidence to the department at the time of applying as an AAO, to support the fact they have demonstrated they have English language proficiency that is equivalent to an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test score of at least 5 in EACH of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening within the past 36 months of applying to become an AAO. Test score equivalencies can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.
- The applicant meets all other requirements stipulated by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to work lawfully in Australia and to perform the Services of the AAO as a highly skilled incidental portion of their employment.
- Applicants who are temporary residents have been assessed by a Meat Industry National Training Advisory Council (MINTRAC) assessor, or another assessor approved by the Commonwealth, as being appropriately skilled for the purposes of being appointed as an AAO (i.e. have a qualification that is nationally recognised that a Recognition of Prior Learning exercise that meets the minimum requirements of a Certificate IV in Meat Processing (Meat Safety).
If the applicant provided a skills migration assessment for a...
Then the applicant is required to contact...
The National Meat Industry Training Advisory Council (MINTRAC) who can provide contact details for a number of Registered Training Organisations who can undertake a Recognition of Prior Learning exercise.
The Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC) Inc who can provide details on ways to enter the profession in Australia, including skills assessment and the national veterinary examination
Where a positive outcome is received through the process, a Certificate will be awarded to the applicant. This can be included in future applications to support suitability for employment as an Authorised Officer
You do not need to provide documents to show your English language proficiency if you are a citizen of the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the United States or the Republic of Ireland and you have a valid passport from one of those countries.
There may be occupational training opportunities for highly skilled overseas meat inspectors interested in applying through other temporary subclass visas. Applicants should use due diligence and understand any risks associated with the visa application process.
You might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, overseas police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. You are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.
3. Evidence of the required qualification
Provision of training and other information to an applicant intending to become an AAO is the responsibility of establishment management or service providers (e.g. independent AAO employers), where applicable.
Applicants must attach certified copies of their qualification to the application form (See section 21 of the application form for how to certify documents).
The department prescribes qualifications in its policy on the appointment and use of non-departmental authorised officers to undertake prescribed functions under the Export Control Act 1982 and its sub-orders, irrespective of whether the applicant is an ex-departmental employee or not.
The qualification can be achieved either through training and assessment or a skills recognition process.
Skills recognition is where prior qualifications, skills, capabilities, knowledge and other evidence of experience is recognised formally through assessment. A certificate or letter of equivalence issued by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) must be provided to the department if an applicant is seeking recognition of equivalence through this process. The applicant is advised that all costs incurred through this process will not be reimbursed or covered by the department.
4. Disclosure of conflicts of interests
Applicants must disclose all conflicts of interests or potential conflicts of interests – whether real or perceived – in the application form.
Examples of conflicts of interest include (but are not limited to):
- Performing inspection on animals either owned by you or members of your family.
- Provision of goods and services by the establishment either for free or at discounted rates e.g. meat, pet food, housing, use of equipment or entertainment such as free meals.
- Being in a position of management and control at the establishment(s) where inspection will be performed.
The declaration of conflicts of interests does not necessarily preclude individuals from appointment as an AAO.
However, depending on the nature or seriousness of the conflict the department may require the AAO to take certain actions – for example, not inspecting your own or a family member’s livestock, or seeking the department's permission to access specific goods or services from the company. In these examples the required action is intended to remove any real or perceived impropriety.
5. Capability assessment
A capability assessment must be performed on all species the AAO is identified as being eligible to work on. The assessment(s) must be submitted within 10 business days of submitting the application otherwise the application will be rejected.
The OPV (or ATM)
must assess the capabilities of the applicant nominees using prescribed instructional material and forms issued by the Export Meat Program for each species at which the applicant has nominated.
The criteria to assess ongoing capability are current departmental Standard Operating Procedures and Work Instructions on conducting inspection for that particular species.
6. Deed of Obligations
The deed includes a requirement that AAOs comply with the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct.
After receiving a formal information session provided by a Registered Training Organisation, applicants must sign the Deed of Obligations and provide it to the department along with evidence of completing the deed of obligations assessment to proceed with their application. These documents must be submitted within 10 business days of submitting the application otherwise the application will be rejected.
- Signing the deed alone does not make the person an AAO – the applicant must be formally appointed to the position.
- As the department does not have to sign the Deed of Obligations, a copy of the deed will not be returned to the applicant. Applicants are strongly encouraged to keep their own copy of the deed.
Note: applicants who will be employed by an Independent AAO Employer are required to sign a modified version of the Deed of Obligations. The modified version of the deed can be found on the
Independent Employer of AAOs Accreditation Scheme webpage.
7. Induction training
Applicants must attend and pass a department-recognised AAO induction training course run by a Registered Training Organisation recognised by the department and provide evidence of this fact.
Departmental Standard Operating Procedures and Work Instructions for the conduct of inspection will be provided during this induction training and must be followed. Updated instructional material is provided to the inductee by the establishment OPV or service provider.
Further information on the induction training course can be sourced by contacting the AAO Coordinator via
email or through MINTRAC.
Evidence of completing the induction training must be submitted within 10 business days of submitting the application otherwise the application will be rejected.
8. Renewal process
Approximately twelve weeks before expiry, the AAO Coordinator (Meat) will contact the AAO’s employer in writing to inform them of the appointment/s that are due to expire. A renewal form and an information sheet will be provided with this correspondence.
The key features of the AAO renewal process are as follows:
- There is a section on the renewal form to update personal details.
- The applicant must take part in the Deed of Obligations (DOO) training session and sign a new DOO.
- The applicant must provide a new National Police Check (NPC).
- The applicant must provide new passport photos.
Completed renewal forms and all the necessary documents (originals or certified copies) should be posted to the AAO Coordinator (Meat) at GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601.
If the person is no longer employed as an AAO their employer should inform the AAO coordinator in writing and return the AAO ID card to the department.
Further queries on the AAO renewal process should be directed to the AAO Coordinator (Meat) via