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National Animal Health Performance Standards

To meet national and international market access obligations, Australia’s animal health services must meet certain minimum national performance standards.

Australia’s animal health services are implemented at the state/territory and regional level. Varying approaches are used by the many stakeholders to meet national objectives.

The aim of the AHA National Animal Health Performance Standards program is to achieve consistency in national animal health service outcomes.

The  National Animal Health Performance Standards version 3 (pdf - 426 KB) set out the minimum standards for all activities that impact on the national animal health status. They aim to achieve consistency without dictating specific methods. The Standards also promote continuous improvement in the capability of Australia’s animal health system.

The Animal Health 2010 study commissioned by Animal Health Australia in 1999-2000 indicated that developments in domestic and international policy would pose significant challenges for Australia’s animal industries over the next decade including mounting consumer and political sensitivity to issues of animal health and product integrity. The ability to measure the performance and outputs of the system will be increasingly important.

The key stakeholders involved in the livestock industries are producers and governments – Commonwealth, states and territories, and local governments where appropriate. Other important stakeholders include processors and traders of livestock and livestock products.

All stakeholders have an interest in the efficient and effective performance of the national animal health system. All stakeholders also have individual roles and responsibilities in ensuring the integrity of the system as a whole. It is essential that these roles and responsibilities are accepted and mutually recognised.

The National Animal Health Performance Standards and the assessment process will improve community, consumer and competitor awareness of, and confidence in, Australia’s animal health status and system.

Assessment and evaluation of performance

AHA government and livestock industry members undertook assessment against the National Animal Health Performance Standards Version 3 during 2006. Compliance with Version 3 of the performance standards was assessed against a risk assessment protocol developed for this purpose.

For assessment purposes, the standards are organised into a matrix of six core functions and nine core capabilities, and each includes the measures required to achieve specified outcomes.


To evaluate their performance against each outcome, member organisations were required to identify and assess the risks that might prevent them from reaching these outcomes. If a high risk was identified, member organisations were required to propose and implement measures to mitigate them. Once a full assessment was completed, member organisations could focus their attention to areas where they identified the risk to be greater.

Members reviewed the risks and their performance against the standards online. Animal Health Australia was also able to monitor trends in performance across governments and livestock industries and allow more efficient auditing of compliance with the performance standards.

Next steps

The  National Animal Health Performance Standards version 3 (pdf - 426 KB) is a living document. It will be further tested and refined through use and evaluation.

Further information

Animal Health Australia
Phone: 02 6232 5522
Fax: 02 6232 5511


Page reviewed: November 17, 2015