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Proposed Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Exhibited Animals Consultation Regulation Impact Statement March 2014

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1.1. Introduction

This regulation impact statement (RIS) evaluates the proposed the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines - Exhibited Animals (‘the proposed national standards’):

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – General

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Crocodilian

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Koala

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Macropod

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Ratite

  • Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. Exhibited Animals – Wombat

These standards have been prepared under the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) as part of a program of developing national welfare standards and guidelines for various industry sectors.

‘Exhibited animals’ are defined as all animals kept for exhibition purposes, including those in zoological parks (zoos), wildlife parks and aquariums, but excluding circus animals. This includes both exotic and native species; and all taxa of animals at any stage of their life cycle, including in the pre-natal, pre-hatched, larval or other such developmental stage.

The laws that currently apply to the management of exhibited animals differ between the states and territories of Australia. The purpose of the proposed national standards is to specify uniform standards that ensure the welfare and security of exhibited animals across Australia. The proposed standards are complemented by guidelines providing advice and/or recommendations to achieve desirable animal welfare and security outcomes. The standards and guidelines apply to those people and industries responsible for the care and management of animals kept at facilities for exhibition purposes, animals temporarily removed from such facilities and animals being transported to or from such facilities.
The development of nationally consistent animal welfare arrangements for various industry sectors has been identified as a priority by all levels of government, industry and welfare organizations. In addition it was a key policy objective under the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS). The AAWS identified enhanced national consistency in regulation and sustainable improvements in animal welfare based on science, national and international benchmarks and changing community standards as areas of priority effort.
Under an arrangement between the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the Commonwealth of Australia, acting through the Department of Agriculture, DPI is now managing the project by arranging for a consultant to conduct the national regulation impact statement (RIS) and public consultation process.
The proposed national standards, if they emerge from this RIS process as the preferred option and if they are endorsed by the Agriculture Ministers Forum (AMF), are intended to be adopted or incorporated into regulations by the various jurisdictions, after which compliance with the standards will become mandatory.1 For evaluation purposes, the RIS will need to treat the proposed national standards and feasible alternatives as if they are mandatory2 and must use relevant existing Australian legislation, standards3 and industry practices as the base case for measurement of incremental costs and benefits (see Part 4.2 of this RIS).
The RIS is required to comply4 with the ‘Best Practice Regulation - A Guide for Ministerial Councils and National Standard Setting Bodies’ as endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in October 2007. COAG has agreed that all governments will ensure that regulatory processes in their jurisdiction are consistent with the following principles:

1. establishing a case for action before addressing a problem;

2. a range of feasible policy options must be considered, including self-regulatory, co-regulatory and non-regulatory approaches, and their benefits and costs assessed;

3. adopting the option that generates the greatest net benefit for the community;

4. in accordance with the Competition Principles Agreement, legislation should not restrict competition unless it can be demonstrated that:-

a. the benefits of the restrictions to the community as a whole outweigh the costs, and

b. the objectives of the regulation can only be achieved by restricting competition;

5. providing effective guidance to relevant regulators and regulated parties in order to ensure that the policy intent and expected compliance requirements of the regulation are clear;

6. ensuring that regulation remains relevant and effective over time;

7. consulting effectively with affected key stakeholders at all stages of the regulatory cycle; and

8. government action should be effective and proportional to the issue being addressed.

The process for this RIS includes three phases, as follows:

  • Phase 1 is the preparation of a preliminary draft RIS for public consultation, which complies with the requirements of relevant COAG guidelines (as assessed by OBPR).

  • Phase 2 is to conduct the public consultation period, by placing advertisements, targeted distribution of electronic copies to key stakeholders and organising copies to be downloadable from the NSW DPI web site and others.

  • Phase 3 is the preparation of a comprehensive final (Decision RIS), taking into account submissions received and any further developments during the public consultation period.

It should be emphasised that the scope of this RIS is limited to evaluating the proposed national standards, and not Commonwealth or state legislation or other standards or codes of practice. However, the following relevant background information may be helpful to interested parties in understanding the proposed national standards within their legislative, economic, national and international contexts.
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