Animal Health Australia (AHA) works with its members to support Australia’s freedom from exotic animal diseases, maintain animal health and market access, and foster the resilience and integrity of the Australian animal health system.
Animal health surveillance is key to meeting these goals as it enables prompt detection of disease incursions and publication of credible national reports on the health status of livestock and their products. Reliable national reports support policy development, decision making and trade. By providing evidence of Australia’s animal health status.
Effective national surveillance of animal diseases in Australia requires cooperative partnerships among government agencies, livestock and wildlife organisations, commercial companies and individuals involved in animal industries.
Under the Australian constitution, the Australian Government is responsible for quarantine and international animal health matters, including disease surveillance reporting to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), export certification and trade negotiation. State and territory governments are responsible for animal health services within their respective borders (jurisdictions), including disease surveillance, investigation and reporting, and diagnostic services. These services are delivered by government-appointed or government-accredited animal health personnel – district veterinarians, regional veterinary officers and local biosecurity officers.
In some cases, private veterinarians are contracted to the government to investigate suspect notifiable diseases. In all states and territories, official government veterinarians establish relationships with private veterinarians in their districts to allow effective collaboration during investigation of unusual disease incidents. National decision making and coordination for animal disease surveillance occurs through the Animal Health Committee (AHC).