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About AAWS

AAWS - Building on past achievements, delivering a better future for animals.

First developed in 2005 by the Australian Government in conjunction with the States and Territories and key stakeholders, the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) is now managed by the States and Territories, with the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) the custodian of the AAWS website.

The aim of the AAWS is to assist in the creation of a more consistent and effective animal welfare system. 

The animal welfare system in Australia aims to ensure all animals receive a standard level of care and treatment. The level of care requires that all animals be provided with adequate housing or habitat, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather conditions and other forms of natural disasters.

Australia has three tiers of government, each of which may have animal welfare responsibilities although these vary between jurisdictions. Under the Federal Constitution, States and Territories have the primary jurisdiction for animal welfare within Australia.  

The Australian Government has specific powers in relation to external trade and treaties that encompasses some animal welfare issues. It also has legislative responsibility concerning export abattoirs, the live animal export trade and animals in quarantine.

Local governments have responsibility for some areas of domestic and unwanted animal control and public health that has a significant impact on animal welfare. This includes the provision of feedback to State/Territory governments in order to change legislation and for the promotion and maintenance of responsible animal ownership.

The AAWS was structured and its priorities based upon the recommendations of the 2008-09 review of AAWS by Bruce Gemmell.  His report made 20 recommendations and is available here.