Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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A Bill for an Act to establish an independent Commonwealth statutory authority with responsibility for protecting animal welfare in Commonwealth regulated activities, to assist in creating a better Australian animal welfare system, and for related purposes
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Registered 24 May 2021
Introduced HR 24 May 2021

2019‑2020‑2021

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

Independent Office of Animal Welfare Bill 2021

 

No.      , 2021

 

(Mr Wilkie)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to establish an independent Commonwealth statutory authority with responsibility for protecting animal welfare in Commonwealth regulated activities, to assist in creating a better Australian animal welfare system, and for related purposes

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             2

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 2

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

4............ Crown to be bound............................................................................. 3

Part 2—Office of Animal Welfare                                                                               4

5............ Establishment...................................................................................... 4

6............ Constitution......................................................................................... 4

7............ Function.............................................................................................. 4

Part 3—Chief Executive Officer, staff, and consultants                                5

Division 1—Chief Executive Officer                                                                    5

8............ Chief Executive Officer....................................................................... 5

9............ Functions of the CEO......................................................................... 5

10.......... CEO solely responsible for performing his or her functions............... 7

Division 2—Appointment of the CEO                                                                  9

11.......... Appointment....................................................................................... 9

12.......... Term of appointment........................................................................... 9

13.......... Acting CEO........................................................................................ 9

Division 3—Terms and conditions of the CEO’s appointment             10

14.......... Remuneration and allowances........................................................... 10

15.......... Leave of absence............................................................................... 10

16.......... Other paid work................................................................................ 10

17.......... Conflicts of interest........................................................................... 11

18.......... Other terms and conditions............................................................... 11

19.......... Resignation....................................................................................... 11

20.......... Termination of appointment.............................................................. 11

Division 4—Staff and consultants                                                                        13

21.......... Staff.................................................................................................. 13

22.......... Persons assisting the CEO................................................................ 13

23.......... Consultants....................................................................................... 14

Part 4—Office of Animal Welfare Advisory Committee                             15

24.......... Establishment of the Office of Animal Welfare Advisory Committee 15

25.......... Functions of the Committee.............................................................. 15

26.......... Membership of the Committee.......................................................... 15

27.......... Appointment of members.................................................................. 16

28.......... Procedures of the Committee............................................................ 17

29.......... Disclosure of interests....................................................................... 17

Part 5—Miscellaneous                                                                                                       18

30.......... Tabling of reports.............................................................................. 18

31.......... Delegation by the CEO..................................................................... 18

32.......... Constitutional basis of this Act......................................................... 18

 


A Bill for an Act to establish an independent Commonwealth statutory authority with responsibility for protecting animal welfare in Commonwealth regulated activities, to assist in creating a better Australian animal welfare system, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act is the Independent Office of Animal Welfare Act 2021.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this Act.

The later of:

(a) the day after the end of the period of 6 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent; and

(b) the day on which the Consolidated Revenue Fund is appropriated under an Act to the Department in which this Act is administered for payment to the Office of Animal Welfare.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

3  Definitions

                   In this Act:

Agriculture Department means the Department administered by the Agriculture Minister.

Agriculture Minister means the Minister administering the Australian Meat and Live‑stock Industry Act 1997.

Attorney‑General’s Department means the Department administered by the Attorney‑General.

CEO means the Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Animal Welfare.

Committee means the Office of Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.

engage in conduct means:

                     (a)  do an act; or

                     (b)  omit to perform an act.

misbehaviour, in relation to the CEO, does not include engaging in conduct that a reasonable person would consider appropriate for the CEO to engage in in the performance of his or her functions under this Act.

Office means the Office of Animal Welfare.

paid work means work for financial gain or reward (whether as an employee, a self‑employed person or otherwise).

4  Crown to be bound

                   This Act binds the Crown in each of its capacities.

Part 2Office of Animal Welfare

  

5  Establishment

             (1)  The Office of Animal Welfare is established by this section.

             (2)  For the purposes of the finance law (within the meaning of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013):

                     (a)  the Office is a listed entity; and

                     (b)  the CEO is the accountable authority of the Office; and

                     (c)  the following persons are officials of the Office:

                              (i)  the CEO;

                             (ii)  the staff referred to in section 21;

                            (iii)  persons assisting the CEO referred to in section 22;

                            (iv)  consultants engaged under section 23;

                             (v)  members of the Committee; and

                     (d)  the purposes of the Office include:

                              (i)  the function of the Office referred to in section 7; and

                             (ii)  the function of the CEO referred to in section 9; and

                            (iii)  the functions of the Committee referred to in section 25.

6  Constitution

                   The Office consists of:

                     (a)  the CEO; and

                     (b)  the staff referred to in section 21.

7  Function

                   The Office’s function is to assist the CEO in the performance of the CEO’s functions.

Part 3Chief Executive Officer, staff, and consultants

Division 1Chief Executive Officer

8  Chief Executive Officer

                   There is to be a Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Animal Welfare.

9  Functions of the CEO

CEO’s functions

             (1)  The CEO has the functions referred to in subsections (2), (3) and (4).

Regulatory functions

             (2)  The CEO has the following functions:

                     (a)  reviewing and monitoring the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock;

                     (b)  reviewing and monitoring the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System;

                     (c)  undertaking inquiries and preparing reports about the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b).

Reporting functions

             (3)  The CEO has the following functions:

                     (a)  making the Office a Centre of Excellence for the collection and dissemination of information about animal welfare issues that impact the Commonwealth;

                     (b)  developing an Australian Animal Welfare Strategy to provide a national framework to identify priorities, coordinate stakeholder action and improve consistency across all animal use sectors;

                     (c)  developing and operating a national repository of information about the outcomes (including prosecution summaries) of prosecutions of offences involving animals:

                              (i)  including offences involving animal cruelty; and

                             (ii)  whether the offences are against Commonwealth, State or Territory law; and

                            (iii)  whether the prosecutions are brought by the Commonwealth, a State, a Territory or a local council;

                     (d)  undertaking inquiries, commissioning research and preparing reports about the following issues:

                              (i)  protecting and promoting animal welfare in the export of live animals;

                             (ii)  the effectiveness of Commonwealth laws that apply to the export of live animals;

                            (iii)  sustainability and animal welfare issues that arise in respect of killing kangaroos for commercial purposes;

                            (iv)  the Commonwealth’s animal welfare policy;

                             (v)  scientific and legal issues that arise in respect of the Commonwealth’s animal welfare policy;

                            (vi)  potential animal welfare issues that arise in respect of the Commonwealth’s animal welfare policy;

                           (vii)  the importation of animals and animal products into Australia;

                          (viii)  the management of animal species introduced into Australia;

                            (ix)  the possible harmonisation of animal welfare laws of the Commonwealth, States and Territories;

                             (x)  animal welfare issues that arise in respect of Model Codes of Practice for the welfare of animals or the Australian Animal Welfare Standards;

                            (xi)  considering academic and scientific research relevant to any of the issues outlined in subparagraphs (i) to (x);

                     (d)  the following functions:

                              (i)  reviewing and monitoring the export of live animals;

                             (ii)  reviewing and monitoring foreign abattoirs at which animals exported from Australia are slaughtered;

                            (iii)  investigating alleged or self‑reported breaches of animal welfare laws at any point in the live export chain;

                     (e)  coordinating:

                              (i)  the development and updating of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines; and

                             (ii)  the updating or replacing of the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals.

Department review functions

             (4)  The CEO has the following functions:

                     (a)  considering the activities of the Agriculture Minister and the Agriculture Department that relate to any of the following:

                              (i)  monitoring compliance with the Commonwealth’s animal welfare laws;

                             (ii)  the enforcement of the Commonwealth’s animal welfare laws;

                            (iii)  the effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s animal welfare laws;

                     (b)  considering the effectiveness of the Agriculture Minister’s and the Agriculture Department’s implementation of the Commonwealth’s animal welfare policy;

                     (c)  undertaking inquiries and preparing reports about the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b).

Power to do things necessary or convenient

             (5)  The CEO has the power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of his or her functions.

10  CEO solely responsible for performing his or her functions

             (1)  A Minister must not give directions to the CEO about the performance of the CEO’s functions.

             (2)  If a Minister gives a direction (whether express or implied) to the CEO contrary to subsection (1), the CEO must disregard the direction.

Division 2Appointment of the CEO

11  Appointment

                   The Chief Executive Officer is to be appointed by the Attorney‑General by written instrument, on a full‑time basis.

12  Term of appointment

                   The CEO holds office for the period specified in the instrument of appointment. The period must not exceed 5 years.

Note:          The CEO is eligible for reappointment: see section 33AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

13  Acting CEO

                   The Attorney‑General may, by written instrument, appoint a person to act as CEO:

                     (a)  during a vacancy in the office of CEO, whether or not an appointment has been previously made to that office; or

                     (b)  during any period, or during all periods, when the CEO is absent from duty or from Australia or is, for any other reason, unable to perform the duties of the office of CEO.

Note:          See sections 33AB and 33A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 for rules that apply to acting appointments.

Division 3Terms and conditions of the CEO’s appointment

14  Remuneration and allowances

             (1)  The CEO is to be paid the remuneration that is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of that remuneration by the Tribunal is in operation, the CEO is to be paid the remuneration that is prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The CEO is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed by the regulations.

             (3)  Subsections 7(9) and (13) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 do not apply in relation to the office of CEO.

Note:          The effect of this subsection is that remuneration or allowances of the CEO will be paid out of money appropriated by an Act other than the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

             (4)  This section has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 (except as provided by subsection (3)).

15  Leave of absence

             (1)  The CEO has the recreation leave entitlements that are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.

             (2)  The Attorney‑General may grant to the CEO leave of absence, other than recreation leave, on the terms and conditions as to remuneration or otherwise that the Attorney‑General determines in writing.

16  Other paid work

                   The CEO must not engage in paid work outside the duties of his or her office.

17  Conflicts of interest

             (1)  The CEO must not have commercial interests in:

                     (a)  an animal industry or trade regulated by the Agriculture Department; or

                     (b)  an animal industry related to an animal industry or trade to which paragraph (a) applies.

             (2)  This section does not limit the CEO’s responsibilities under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

18  Other terms and conditions

                   The CEO holds office on the terms and conditions (if any) in relation to matters not covered by this Act that are determined, in writing, by the Attorney‑General.

19  Resignation

             (1)  The CEO may resign his or her appointment by giving the Attorney‑General a signed notice of resignation.

             (2)  The resignation takes effect on the day it is received by the Attorney‑General or, if a later day is specified in the resignation, on that later day.

20  Termination of appointment

                   The Attorney‑General may terminate the appointment of the CEO:

                     (a)  for misbehaviour; or

                     (b)  if the CEO is unable to perform the duties of his or her office because of physical or mental incapacity; or

                     (c)  if the CEO:

                              (i)  becomes bankrupt; or

                             (ii)  applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors; or

                            (iii)  compounds with his or her creditors; or

                            (iv)  makes an assignment of his or her remuneration for the benefit of his or her creditors; or

                     (d)  if the CEO is absent, except on leave of absence, for 14 consecutive days or for 28 days in any 12 months; or

                     (e)  if the CEO engages in paid work outside the duties of his or her office (see section 16); or

                      (f)  if the CEO fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with section 17 (which deals with conflicts of interest).

Division 4Staff and consultants

21  Staff

             (1)  The staff of the Office must be persons engaged under the Public Service Act 1999.

             (2)  For the purposes of that Act:

                     (a)  the CEO and the staff of the Office together constitute a Statutory Agency; and

                     (b)  the CEO is the Head of that Statutory Agency.

22  Persons assisting the CEO

             (1)  The CEO may also be assisted by:

                     (a)  officers and employees of Agencies (within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999), and of authorities of the Commonwealth, whose services are made available to the Office in connection with the performance of any of its functions; and

                     (b)  persons whose services are so made available under arrangements made under subsection (2).

             (2)  The CEO may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, make an arrangement with the appropriate authority or officer of a State or Territory government or government authority under which the government or government authority makes officers or employees available to the CEO to perform services in connection with the performance of any of the CEO’s functions.

             (3)  An arrangement under subsection (2) may provide for the Commonwealth to reimburse a State or Territory with respect to the services of a person or persons to whom the arrangement relates.

             (4)  When performing services for the CEO under this section, a person is subject to the directions of the CEO.

23  Consultants

             (1)  The CEO may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, engage persons having suitable qualifications and experience as consultants to the CEO.

             (2)  The consultants are to be engaged on the terms and conditions that the CEO determines in writing.

Part 4Office of Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

  

24  Establishment of the Office of Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

                   The Office of Animal Welfare Advisory Committee is established by this section.

25  Functions of the Committee

                   The Committee has the following functions:

                     (a)  at the request of the CEO—to report to and advise the CEO in relation to any of the CEO’s functions referred to in section 9;

                     (b)  any other functions conferred on the Committee by a provision of another Act;

                     (c)  anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the above functions.

26  Membership of the Committee

                   The Committee consists of the following members:

                     (a)  the CEO;

                     (b)  the following members appointed under subsection 27(1):

                              (i)  3 members representing non‑governmental animal welfare organisations;

                             (ii)  1 member representing consumer groups;

                            (iii)  1 member representing scientists specialising in animal welfare issues;

                            (iv)  1 member representing veterinarians;

                             (v)  1 member representing ethicists specialising in animal welfare issues;

                            (vi)  1 member representing commercial producers, or commercial purchasers, of animals or animal products;

                           (vii)  not more than 2 other persons, as the CEO considers appropriate;

                     (c)  an APS employee in the Attorney‑General’s Department appointed under subsection 27(4).

27  Appointment of members

             (1)  The members of the Committee mentioned in paragraph 26(b) must be appointed by the Attorney‑General by written instrument.

             (2)  In appointing members of the Committee, the Attorney‑General must comply with the following:

                     (a)  no more than 50% of the members appointed under paragraph 26(b) may be affiliated with animal industries;

                     (b)  a person must not be appointed to a position mentioned in subparagraphs 26(b)(i) to (v) unless the person demonstrates current expertise in animal welfare issues and related research, as they relate to the area of expertise relevant to the position;

                     (c)  at least one of the persons appointed to a position mentioned in subparagraph 26(b)(i) must represent the national non‑governmental animal welfare organisations that undertake investigations and enforcement activities in relation to animal welfare;

                     (d)  a person must not be appointed to a position mentioned in subparagraph 26(b)(iii) or (iv) unless the person:

                              (i)  is independent of industry; and

                             (ii)  has demonstrated expertise in animal welfare research, teaching or advocacy; and

                            (iii)  holds relevant higher education qualifications.

             (3)  The members of the Committee mentioned in paragraph 26(b) are not to be paid remuneration by the Commonwealth.

             (4)  The member of the Committee mentioned in paragraph 26(c) must be appointed by the Secretary of the Attorney‑General’s Department.

28  Procedures of the Committee

             (1)  The CEO is to be the Chair of the Committee.

             (2)  The Chair of the Committee must hold such meetings as are necessary for the efficient performance of the Committee’s functions.

             (3)  The Chair must preside at all meetings at which he or she is present.

             (4)  If the Chair is not present at a meeting, the Chair may appoint a delegate to chair the meeting in place of the Chair.

29  Disclosure of interests

             (1)  A member of the Committee who has an interest, pecuniary or otherwise, in a matter being considered or about to be considered by the Committee must disclose the nature of the interest to a meeting of the Committee.

             (2)  The disclosure must be made as soon as possible after the relevant facts have come to the member’s knowledge.

             (3)  The disclosure must be recorded:

                     (a)  in the minutes of the meeting of the Committee; and

                     (b)  in any advice provided, or recommendations made, to the CEO by the Committee; and

                     (c)  in any guidelines issued to the CEO by the Committee.

Part 5Miscellaneous

  

30  Tabling of reports

             (1)  If the CEO prepares a report for the purpose of section 9, the CEO must, within 15 days after the date that the report is completed, prepare and give to the Attorney‑General a copy of the report, for presentation to the Parliament.

             (2)  A report provided to the Attorney‑General, must be tabled in both Houses of the Parliament within 10 sitting days of the date that it is provided to the Attorney‑General.

             (3)  If the Attorney‑General receives a report for the purpose of subsection (1), the Attorney‑General must prepare a written response to the recommendations made in the report and table the response in both Houses of the Parliament at the same time as the report is tabled in those Houses.

31  Delegation by the CEO

             (1)  The CEO may delegate, in writing, all or any of the CEO’s functions and powers under this Act to a member of the staff of the Office.

             (2)  In exercising his or her powers under subsection (1), the CEO is to have regard to the powers to be exercised by the delegate and the responsibilities of the officer to whom the power is delegated.

             (3)  A delegate must comply with any written directions of the CEO.

32  Constitutional basis of this Act

Principal constitutional basis

             (1)  This Act relies on the Commonwealth’s legislative powers with respect to trade and commerce with other countries, and among the States.

Additional operation of this Act

             (2)  In addition to subsection (1), this Act also has effect as provided by subsections (3) to (6).

             (3)  This Act also has the effect it would have if it required the CEO to carry out his or her functions only with respect to corporations to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies.

             (4)  This Act also has the effect it would have if it required the CEO to carry out his or her functions only with respect to external affairs.

             (5)  This Act also has the effect it would have if it required the CEO to carry out his or her functions only in, or with respect to, Territories.

             (6)  This Act also has the effect it would have if it required the CEO to carry out his or her functions only with respect to matters incidental to the execution of any of the legislative powers of the Parliament or the executive power of the Commonwealth.