Veterinary leadership and technical expertise for Australia’s animal health system
The Animal Health Committee (AHC) delivers strategic policy, technical and regulatory advice, and national leadership on animal health and biosecurity matters. It is responsible for delivering on national priority reform areas and overseeing the development and implementation of animal health strategies and standards. AHC sits under the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC). AHC’s relationship with NBC and other organisations can be seen in the following organisation chart.
The principal objective of AHC is to maintain or improve animal health outcomes, manage animal biosecurity risks and facilitate trade through national leadership, strategic direction and collaboration with stakeholders. AHC provides advice as necessary on animal health to NBC.
Committee members include the chief veterinary officers (CVOs) of the Commonwealth, states and territories, along with representatives from the CSIRO Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (formerly Australian Animal Health Laboratory), the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
Observers include representatives from Animal Health Australia, Wildlife Health Australia, and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries. Observers are invited by the AHC Chair to participate at committee meetings in an advisory or consultative capacity, and do not have voting rights.
Member and observer websites can be found in the ‘Resources’ section.
AHC usually meets face-to-face twice a year, with meetings held in a different state or territory each time. AHC members also meet regularly by videoconference to discuss issues of national importance. A considerable amount of business is considered out of session where committee discussion of the issue is not necessary.
The position of the chair of the committee is rotated annually between the CVOs and DAFF provides the secretariat support.
AHC regularly meets with representatives from national livestock industry bodies and veterinary services to discuss priority animal health issues and other topics of mutual interest. These sessions provide an opportunity for animal health stakeholders to meet directly with AHC members. Previous sessions been based on themes including traceability, antimicrobial resistance and improving animal welfare outcomes in emergency situations.
Sub-committees of AHC
AHC is supported by the:
- Sub-committee on Aquatic Animal Health
- Sub-committee on Animal Health Laboratory Standards
- Sub-committee on Emergency Animal Disease (available soon)
AHC publishes the Vet communique newsletter that provides information on topics considered at face-to-face meetings.
To contact the AHC Secretariat please send an email to email@example.com