AWAC Question and Answers
What is the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC)?
AWAC is a non-statutory committee formed by the Minister for Agriculture to provide expert and strategic advice on animal welfare related issues.
What is the role of the AWAC?
AWAC will advise and report to the minister or the department on matters relating to the welfare of animals in Victoria and is subject to the general direction of the minister. Specifically, the role of AWAC is to:
- contribute to improving the welfare of animals in Victoria by providing strategic advice to the minister on animal welfare issues;
- assist the minister and the department in reviewing legislation (including regulations) to improve the effectiveness of policies that relate to animal welfare;
- provide comment on and participate in the development and revision of animal welfare codes and standards; and
- provide considered advice on any animal welfare matters referred to it by the minister or the department.
How is the membership of AWAC determined?
Members are selected by the Minister taking into account their expertise, government diversity objectives and that the membership of AWAC will adequately balance the requisite expertise criteria described below. Members are also required to have the skills and knowledge to fulfil the duties of AWAC as required by the Terms of Reference.
Am I eligible to be a member of AWAC?
Selection of members is based on formal curriculum vitae provided to the Minister following a public invitation for expressions of interest. Prospective members must have knowledge and expertise in animal welfare in at least one or more of the following categories:
- agricultural, animal or veterinary science
- commercial, recreational, display and scientific use of animals
- care, breeding and management of companion animals;
- ethical standards and conduct in respect of animals;
- animal welfare expertise;
- wildlife and conservation management;
- public policy; or
- any other area that the minister considers relevant to fulfil the role of AWAC.
The Minister for Agriculture has appointed eight members and an independent chairperson. Members are appointed until August 2018. When a vacancy arises, an Expression of Interest process will be undertaken to fill the vacancy by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. If you have knowledge and expertise in relevant areas, you are eligible to apply for membership.
What is required of AWAC members?
The primary role of members is to provide sound advice to the Minister based on collective experience and knowledge. AWAC meetings are held four times per year and the current term of office is until August 2018. The timing of meetings will be determined by members and depends on the nature of issues considered and outcomes required. In addition to meetings, members may be required to commit additional time for preparation and consultation with stakeholders and networks.
All members must work openly, cooperatively and effectively as part of a small, but diverse group committed to providing sound advice to the Minister.
Are the AWAC members being paid?
AWAC is classified as a Group C, Band 2 organisation under the Victorian Government Guidelines.
Eligible members and the chairperson are entitled to receive remuneration as prescribed by the Guidelines. Travelling and personal expenses will also be paid where applicable.