Frequently asked questions about the EADRA

Commonly known as the ‘EADRA’, the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement is an agreement between government and various livestock industries on how to manage cost and responsibility for an emergency response to an animal disease outbreak.

The Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) is a formal, legally binding agreement between Animal Health Australia, the Australian government, all state and territory governments, and currently fourteen livestock industry signatories (‘parties’). The EADRA covers the management and funding of responses to emergency animal disease (EAD) incidents. Its full title is ‘Government and Livestock Industry Cost Sharing Deed in respect of Emergency Animal Disease Responses’.

The EADRA was first endorsed in March 2002.

What is the overall purpose of the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement?

The EADRA outlines agreed parameters for an emergency response to an animal disease outbreak and allows parties to ‘get on with the job’.

The EADRA was developed to facilitate rapid responses to, and control and eradication or containment of, certain animal diseases (‘emergency animal diseases’, or EADs). In particular, the EADRA establishes mechanisms that:

a. facilitate immediate reporting of suspect EADs by providing:
i. financial disincentives for any failure to report
ii. cost sharing of compensation paid under jurisdictional legislation for livestock or property that die or are destroyed for disease control purposes.

b. facilitate an early and comprehensive response to an EAD, to define the nature of the disease and contain its spread

c. provide that parties that fund a response to an EAD have a role in decision making about the response and its funding

d. define funding responsibilities up to certain limits for each EAD including providing a framework where:

  • the beneficiaries of the eradication or containment of a disease pay an appropriate and equitable proportion of the costs of mounting a response
  • no one person/organisation is made better or worse off as a result of reporting a disease incident or suspected disease incident, and
  •  each party is accountable to all of the other parties who fund a response to an EAD.

e. defines the ongoing responsibilities of parties to the Deed for EAD preparedness and risk mitigation,

f. commits parties to define “normal commitments” which are not eligible for cost sharing.

Who looks after the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement?

Animal Health Australia manages the EADRA on behalf of the signatories.

Animal Health Australia manages the review process for the EADRA, which includes regular workshops with representatives of all parties. In this way, Animal Health Australia ensures that the EADRA remains current, credible and effective. Experience gained from applying the EADRA in an EAD event flows into the review process.

Usually, an updated version of the EADRA is published once a year. Supporting ‘guidance documents’ are also prepared and provide more detail on specific aspects of the EADRA.

What is an emergency animal disease?

An EAD is a disease that is likely to have significant effects on livestock – potentially resulting in livestock deaths, production loss, and in some cases, impacts on human health and the environment.

Under the EADRA, an EAD is defined as a disease that meets one or more of the following criteria:

a. It is a known disease that does not occur in endemic form in Australia; it is considered to be in the national interest to be free of this disease.

b. It is a variant, non-endemic form of an endemic disease (caused by a strain or type of the agent that can be distinguished from the endemic strain) that – if established in Australia – would have a national impact.

c. It is a serious infectious disease of unknown or uncertain cause; on the evidence available at the time, it could be an entirely new disease or one not listed in the categorised disease list set out in the EADRA.

d. It is a known endemic disease, but is occurring in such a fulminant outbreak form (far beyond the severity expected), that an emergency response is required to ensure that there is neither a large-scale epidemic of national significance nor serious loss of market access.

Who is covered by the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement?

Animal Health Australia, the Australian government, all state and territory governments, and a number of livestock industry sectors are covered by the EADRA.

Coverage extends to all industries where the representative bodies are parties to the EADRA. To become a party to the EADRA, an industry representative body must apply for admission.

Parties to the EADRA are:

  • Animal Health Australia
  • The Commonwealth of Australia
  • The States of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia
  • The Northern Territory of Australia and the Australian Capital Territory
  • Australian Duck Meat Association Inc.
  • Australian Chicken Meat Federation Inc.
  • Australian Egg Corporation Limited
  • Australian Dairy Farmers Limited
  • Cattle Council of Australia Inc.
  • Australian Pork Limited
  • Sheepmeat Council of Australia Inc.
  • Woolproducers Australia
  • Australian Lot Feeders’ Association Inc.
  • Goat Industry Council of Australia
  • Racing Australia
  • Harness Racing Australia Inc
  • Australian Horse Industry Council
  • Equestrian Australia Limited.

Which diseases are covered under the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement?

All diseases covered by the EADRA are listed in Schedule 3 of the Deed.

The EADRA also provides a mechanism to cover non-listed EADs, under a set of conditions.

What are the benefits of the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement?

The key benefit is the ability to respond quickly, effectively and efficiently to an EAD incident while minimising uncertainty over management and funding arrangements.

Other significant benefits are:

a) potential liabilities are known,

b) funding mechanisms are agreed in advance,

c) costs are minimised for all parties,

d) cost sharing continues until the EAD response is successful or a decision is made that the EAD response is no longer feasible or cost effective

e) industry is directly involved in decision making about managing an EAD response

f) a consistent and agreed national approach for managing incursions

g) an underpinning series of technical response plans (AUSVETPLAN) to provide guidance and consistency

h) affected farmers whose industry representative body is a party to the EADRA may receive compensation paid under state/territory legislation which helps remove disincentives to report suspicion of diseases

i) the costs of implementing the agreed EAD response plan, including compensation payable under state/territory legislation for livestock or property that is destroyed for the purpose of eradication or prevention of the spread of the EAD, and any livestock that has died of the EAD (this needs to be certified), can be cost shared between the affected parties to the EADRA

j) The Australian Government will pay (underwrite) the payment for an industry party’s share of costs where that industry party is unable to do so, and allow this funding to be repaid over time using an agreed statutory levy, voluntary levy or an alternative repayment mechanism

k) wider commitment to risk mitigation by all parties through the development and implementation of biosecurity plans, statments or strategies. 

l) all state and territory government parties are required to define a base level of resources (‘normal commitments’) for managing EAD responses, and industry parties have complementary normal commitments (the EADRA Guidance document on normal commitments provides more information)

m) provision of an incentive to maintain a reserve of trained personnel and technical expertise

n) provision of accountability and transparency to all parties.

What does ‘cost sharing’ mean?

Parties to the EADRA have agreed to a mechanism for sharing the cost of an EAD response. The proportions depend on the category the EAD is listed under.

Cost sharing is the process of government and industry parties’ proportional funding of the eligible costs of an EAD Response Plan (EADRP).

The underlying principles are that:

a. the beneficiaries of the eradication or containment of a disease pay an appropriate and equitable proportion of the costs of mounting a response

b. no one person/organisation is made better or worse off as a result of reporting a disease incident or suspected disease incident, and

c. each party is accountable to all of the other parties who fund a response to an EAD, and

d. response costs that will be cost shared must be clearly identified in the EADRP prepared by an affected state/territory and approved by NMG, on the advice of the CCEAD.

What type of expenses can be cost shared under the EADRA?

Cost sharing can apply for salaries and wages, operating expenses, capital costs, and compensation.

Salaries and wages

Salaries or consultancy fees for staff/consultants engaged by the party to assist directly with eradication and for staff/consultants engaged to backfill positions of existing permanent staff assisting directly with eradication are eligible for reimbursement.

In contrast, salary or consultancy fees of staff/consultants who are, or would be, engaged by a government or industry party, irrespective of the disease emergency, are not eligible for cost sharing.

Operating expenses

Operating expenses directly incurred by a party in the eradication program are eligible for cost sharing. For laboratory services provided internally by a state/territory government agency, eligible costs are the cost of additional staff and operating costs incurred as a result of the emergency disease response.

Capital costs

Capital expenditure on major items such as motor vehicles or buildings are not eligible for reimbursement. The working life of such capital items would normally be expected to extend far beyond any eradication effort funded under the EAD Response Plan, and there is every possibility they could be utilised in other ongoing programs. Essential equipment required for the immediate servicing needs of the EAD Response Plan is eligible for cost sharing.


Compensation paid under jurisdictional legislation to the owner of any livestock or property that is destroyed for the purpose of eradication or prevention of the spread of the EAD, and any livestock that is certified to have died of the EAD is eligible for cost sharing.

In the case of livestock, a second payment may become due on the date the property where the livestock were located becomes eligible to be restocked provided the total value of livestock is greater on that date. This payment is also eligible for cost sharing.

Visit the EADRA Guidelines for Accounting and Cost Sharing for more detail.

Cost sharing principles do not apply to consequential loss suffered by a party.

What type of expenses are excluded from being cost shared under the EADRA?

Normal commitments

Cost sharing does not apply to activities that are considered “normal commitments” which are a Party’s business as usual costs that underpin a Party’s capability and capacity to detect and respond to a suspect or confirmed EAD in a manner and extent consistent with the EADRA and AUSVETPLAN. Normal Commitments are a Party’s activities and resource commitments to EAD management that are not eligible for Cost Sharing.

Business risk

Cost sharing does not apply to activities that are result from normal business risks.

Consequential loss

To be eligible for cost sharing, the cost must have been incurred as a direct result of the response activity or regulatory process, or be a direct result of achieving a response objective. It would also need to have been “reasonably foreseeable” and if it was not, then it would be considered a consequential loss, which is excluded from cost sharing principles under the EADRA.

If the cost was generated by anything not directly related to the response or caused by some unrelated factor or circumstances, then it would also be considered a consequential loss.

More information on consequential loss can be found in the EADRA Guidance Document: Consequential Loss on the AHA website here.

Recovery costs

Costs associated with recovery from the outbreak are ineligible for Cost Sharing. Costs of recovery in an EAD, just as with other emergency incident management, are managed by processes outside of the disease control legislation and procedures. Recovery services during and after emergencies and business continuity are provided by recovery agencies from all levels of government and non-government organisations.

Does the EADRA include compensation for animal welfare cases?

The EADRA does not specifically mention animal welfare; however, compensation for welfare-related slaughter under the EADRA can be cost shared under certain circumstances.

In emergency disease responses, the welfare of animals is an important consideration. Parties to the EADRA have agreed a description of ‘compensable welfare slaughter’:

“Compensation for welfare-related slaughter under the EADRA is appropriate where the relevant Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) agrees that the slaughter is essential for disease control purposes in accordance with an approved EAD Response Plan and all other non-slaughter options have been exhausted. Compensation is limited to the market value of the destroyed animals as defined in the EADRA, and does not include reduced value, feed costs, husbandry costs, or any other form of consequential loss.”

Slaughter of animals on animal welfare grounds, for reasons that are not specifically related to disease control (e.g. space limitations on pig/poultry enterprises or as a result of disease pathology) may also be possible, by agreement between the enterprise and the Local Control Centre and the CVO. Compensation or alternative payment mechanisms for such slaughter, will be determined by jurisdictional legislation and procedures. Cost sharing of compensation payable under jurisdictional legislation may be possible, provided that the rationale and animal welfare procedure is captured in collaboration between the LCC and the affected enterprise and included in an approved Animal Welfare Plan which is consistent with or part of the EADRP.

Find more details in the EADRA Guidance document “Livestock Welfare Management and Compensation Principles for Parties to the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement

What is an emergency animal disease response plan?

The EADRP uses AUSVETPLAN as a framework for a specific response plan (EADRP) developed by the affected state or territory where an outbreak occurs.

An EADRP is developed by the state or territory CVO(s) in whose jurisdiction(s) the EAD incident has occurred.

The EADRP must:

a. be promptly developed and approved to support a rapid response to an outbreak of an EAD

b. clearly identify any proposed significant variations from AUSVETPLAN

c. clearly identify any key strategies and core operational activities (including compensation), that are to be the subject of cost sharing,

d. be endorsed by the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases (CCEAD, a committee of technical representatives of the parties)

e. submitted to the National Management Group (NMG, a higher level group representing each of the parties affected by an incident or an outbreak of an EAD) for approval.

Once agreed by the National Management Group (NMG), the EADRP will commit the state or territory agency(s) to the key strategies and core operational activities contained in the Plan.

CCEAD (and NMG) must make sure that EADRPs from multiple jurisdictions are aligned as possible, so that there is national consistency in the response.
When the EADRP is approved by the NMG, this invokes cost sharing of cost detailed in the plan.

Find more details in the EADRA Guide to developing an EADRP 

What is the ‘Agreed Limit” and how much do government and industry pay in total?

Each response will differ in cost. The EADRA has provisions to set limits on how much parties commit to spend but also provides flexibility to increase this limit during a response.

The EADRA contains provisions for parties to agree on a limit on the amount that will be eligible for cost sharing between the parties in respect of a response plan for an EAD incident. This is known as the ‘Agreed Limit’.

The ‘Agreed Limit’ is a trigger for the National Management Group to review if the benefits of the response still outway the costs and what the next steps should be. They must decide if the Agreed Limit should be increased, if steps could be taken to reduce the cost of the response or if Parties wish to change how costs are being shared or to either cease the response or move to a long term control program.

The default agreed limit for a party is that party’s proportional share of 1% of the GVP of the Industry/ies affected by the EAD (2% in the case of foot-and-mouth disease).

What is the relative proportion that industry and governments pay?

There are 4 disease categories that determine the proportions paid by government and industry.

The relative proportion of the costs that governments and industry pay depends on the category of the disease:

Category of Disease Government Funding Industry Funding
Category 1 100% 0%
Category 2 80% 20%
Category 3 50% 50%
Category 4 20% 80%

There are currently 7 diseases in Category 1, 14 in Category 2, 17 in Category 3 and 27 in Category 4.

Which diseases are in category 1?

Category 1 diseases are EADs that predominantly seriously affect human health and/or the environment (depletion of native fauna) but may only have minimal direct consequences to the livestock industries.

This category currently includes:

i. Australian bat lyssavirus
ii. Japanese encephalitis
iii. Nipah virus
iv. rabies
v. Western, Eastern and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis

Which diseases are in category 2?

Category 2 diseases are EADs that have the potential to cause major national socio-economic consequences through very serious international trade losses, national market disruptions and very severe production losses in the livestock industries that are involved.

This category includes diseases that may have slightly lower national socio-economic consequences, but also have significant public health and/or environmental consequences.

This category currently includes:

i. avian influenza (highly pathogenic; virus subtypes H5 and H7)
ii. bovine spongiform encephalopathy
iii. brucellosis (due to Brucella abortus)
iv. brucellosis (due to Brucella melitensis)
v. foot-and-mouth disease
vi. glanders
vii. Hendra virus
viii. peste des petits ruminants
ix. Rift Valley fever
x. rinderpest
xi. screw worm fly
xii. sheep pox
xiii. vesicular stomatitis

Which diseases are in category 3?

Category 3: EADs that have the potential to cause significant (but generally moderate) national socio-economic consequences through international trade losses, market disruptions involving two or more states and severe production losses to affected industries, but have minimal or no effect on human health or the environment.

This category currently includes:

I. African horse sickness
II. African swine fever
III. anthrax (major outbreaks)
IV. avian influenza (highly pathogenic; other than virus subtypes H5 and H7)
V. avian influenza (low pathogenic; virus subtypes H5 and H7)
VI. bluetongue
VII. classical swine fever
VIII. contagious bovine pleuropneumonia
IX. encephalitides (tick-borne)
X. lumpy skin disease
XI. Menangle virus (porcine paramyxovirus)
XII. Newcastle disease
XIII. scrapie
XIV. swine vesicular disease
XV. trichinellosis
XVI. vesicular exanthema

Which diseases are in category 4?

Category 4: EADs that could be classified as being mainly production loss diseases. While there may be international trade losses and local market disruptions, these would not be of a magnitude that would be expected to significantly affect the national economy.

The main beneficiaries of a successful emergency response to an outbreak of such a disease would be the affected livestock industry(s).

This category currently includes:

I. Aujeszky’s disease
II. Borna disease
III. bovine tuberculosis due to Mycobacterium bovis
IV. contagious equine metritis
V. dourine
VI. east coast fever
VII. epizootic lymphangitis
VIII. equine babesiosis
IX. equine encephalosis
X. equine influenza
XI. Getah virus
XII. haemorrhagic septicaemia
XIII. heartwater
XIV. infectious bursal disease (hypervirulent form)
XV. Jembrana disease
XVI. Maedi/visna
XVII. Nairobi sheep disease
XVIII. Porcine epidemic diarrhoea
XIX. porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS)
XX. Potomac fever
XXI. pulmonary adenomatosis
XXII. sheep scab
XXIII. surra
XXIV. influenza A virus ofswine
XXV. Teschen disease
XXVI. transmissible gastroenteritis
XXVII. Wesselsbron disease

Who determines the category of an emergency animal disease?

An Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Categorisation Panel provides recommendations on the formal disease categories.

The panel will advise on changes to the existing categorisation of an EAD and also consider the appropriate category for a new disease.

As a minimum, the panel comprises an independent chair, a veterinarian with government disease control expertise, a person with specific expertise in the disease, a person with relevant economic expertise and a nominee from each relevant industry. Where appropriate it will also include a person with public health expertise (if a public health risk may exist), a conservation representative, or relevant members as determined by the independent chair.

See also Recategorisation of diseases under the EADRA – Animal Health Australia

Before categorisation is undertaken for a new disease, there needs to be a determination whether the disease is an EAD. A Guidance document Guidelines for Determining Whether an Unlisted Disease is an EAD under the EAD Response Agreement assists this process.

What if there is an outbreak of an emergency animal disease that has not been categorised?

The National Management Group may agree to a response to an uncategorised disease, and the EADRA sets out how it will be cost shared.

If the NMG approves an EAD Response Plan for a disease that was previously unknown, the parties will engage in cost sharing as if the disease were a Category 1 EAD (i.e. 100% government funding). If the disease was previously known, and has not yet been categorised, it will be treated as a Category 3 (i.e. 50% governments, 50% industry), unless NMG agrees that there are significant public health issues, in which case the disease will be treated as Category 1. This way, the response to the EAD can get underway without delay.

How are the costs for individual governments and individual industries worked out?

Industry costs are determined in relation to industries’ GVP. Government costs are shared 50% by the Australian government, with the remainder shared by the state and territory governments based on the size of the affected industries in those jurisdictions.

Government funding is shared between government parties, i.e. the Commonwealth, the six states and the two territories. For each disease, the Commonwealth share is 50% of the total government share.

The split between states and territories is worked out using a set of detailed formulae. For Category 1 diseases (i.e. diseases that predominantly seriously affect human health and/or the environment but may only have minimal direct consequences to the livestock industries), the formula uses figures from the latest human population census. For all other diseases, the formula is based on the relevant livestock population and on GVP data of the industry(s) affected by the disease.

The split of costs eligible for cost sharing between the industry parties where an EAD affects more than one species, or concerns more than one industry party for a species, are similarly determined on the basis of the GVP of each industry.

How does industry meet its cost sharing obligation?

Parties to the EADRA must have plans in place to meet costs should a response occur.

Each industry party must take reasonable steps to ensure that its industry meets the cost sharing obligations of that industry. The Commonwealth may initially meet an industry’s cost sharing obligations, and that industry will then repay the Commonwealth within a reasonable time period.

Parties to the EADRA can establish an EAD response levy to meet financial liabilities for responses under the EADRA. While this is not the only option, it provides the greatest flexibility in relation to adjusting levy rates to suit particular needs. Usually, the EAD response levy is set to zero and activated only in an EAD incident.

What is owner compensation?

Compensation may be paid to the owners of livestock that die from the EAD or are ordered to be destroyed in a response.

See A quick guide to compensation and valuation in an EAD response – Animal Health Australia

How is the most appropriate response to an emergency animal disease determined?

All parties have collaboratively developed and agreed on appropriate response measures.

For all diseases listed in the EADRA, there is a preferred approach to an outbreak. These preferred approaches have been developed and agreed upon by governments and relevant industries in non-outbreak times and are captured in AUSVETPLAN Disease strategies.

AUSVETPLAN Disease strategies provide sufficient information about the nature of the disease, principles of its control and eradication, the preferred initial policy and its rationale, and recommended quarantine and movement controls.

The EAD Response Plan developed by the state or territory CVO(s) in whose jurisdiction(s) the EAD incident has occurred must be consistent with relevant AUSVETPLAN manuals, unless the variation is described in the EAD response plan and then endorsed by the CCEAD, and agreed by the NMG.

The availability of agreed AUSVETPLAN Disease strategies ensures that informed decisions about the policies and procedures needed to manage an EAD incident in Australia are immediately at hand and there is no time lost in mounting the response.

Who is responsible for the decision making under the emergency animal disease response agreement?

All parties involved in a response have decision making power for that response – through the National Management Group and the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases.

There is no single party exclusively responsible for decision making under the EADRA. Equally, not every party to the EADRA will be involved in decision making for every incident. Decisions are made by two groups, with government and industry representation drawn from parties who are affected by the EAD incident (‘affected parties’). The two decision making groups are the NMG and the CCEAD. The CCEAD is a committee of technical representatives of the parties; they advise the NMG, which is a higher level group representing each of the affected parties. The NMG will approve, or not approve, the invoking of cost sharing and manage, on behalf of the affected parties, the national policy and resourcing needs of an EAD Response Plan.

What is the national management group, and how does it operate?

NMG is the high-level decision making body that determines whether to respond to an animal disease and the direction of that response.

In an EAD response, the NMG will include a representative of each of the affected parties (the parties who are affected by the EAD incident):

  • the Secretary of Australian Government Department of Agriculture, who chairs the NMG; the Department also provides the secretariat)
  • the chief executive officers of the state and territory government parties
  • the president (or analogous officer) of each of the relevant industry parties
  • Animal Health Australia as an observer.

NMG is responsible for approving the EAD Response Plan (including an indicative budget) for an incident. This approval activates cost sharing for the EAD response. NMG also reviews the EADRP when it believes the cost may exceed the agreed limit (1% of the GVP of the affected industry(s) [2% for foot-and-mouth disease]). NMG also determines the point at which an EAD has been eradicated and the response can be stood down or that an EAD cannot be eradicated and the EAD response stood down. It is at this point that the EADRP is terminated and cost sharing ceases to apply.

NMG makes decisions by consensus. Consensus is defined as the making of decisions by general agreement (which may involve a measure of compromise necessary to ensure a workable outcome), and that none of the Parties actively participating in the decision-making process opposes the decision.

What is the consultative committee on emergency animal diseases, and how does it operate?

The CCEAD is the key technical coordinating body for animal health emergencies.

CCEAD provides the link between the Commonwealth, states and territories, industry and Animal Health Australia. CCEAD members are:

  • the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, who chairs CCEAD
  • all state and territory chief veterinary officers (or their nominees)
  • one representative nominated by CSIRO Animal Health
  • two representatives from the Australian Department of Agriculture nominated by the Australian chief veterinary officer
  • one representative of Animal Health Australia as an observer
  • members of relevant industry parties (generally including one member representing a non-affected industry).

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture provides the secretariat for CCEAD.

Under the EADRA, CCEAD has specific responsibilities, for example, CCEAD must assess the EAD Response Plan submitted by the affected jurisdiction(s) and advise the NMG whether the Plan should be approved. This includes advice on whether the EAD can be eradicated or contained. CCEAD will monitor progress in the response and provide regular consolidated reports to the affected parties and to the NMG. CCEAD determines when a disease has been contained or eradicated under an EADRP, and recommend when proof of freedom has been achieved. In circumstances where rapid eradication of an EAD is judged to be no longer feasible, CCEAD will provide advice and recommendations to NMG on when the EADRP should be terminated, when cost sharing should no longer apply, and on options for alternative arrangements.

CCEAD makes decisions by consensus – see definition above.

Is the information given to the national management group and the consultative committee on emergency animal diseases confidential?

Information considered by NMG and CCEAD is confidential, but they provide public communiqués on key decisions.

Most information provided to the NMG and CCEAD is confidential; this is because it could be commercially sensitive, relating to national security or international relations, or include personal information. However, representatives present at the meetings are allowed to discuss certain information within their organisation, under the provisions of the EADRA, on a strict need-to-know basis, to effectively operate and perform their obligations under the EADRA.

To keep the public informed about its decisions, the NMG usually provides public communiqués after its EAD meetings.