This audit would examine the effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture’s (the department’s) regulation of the treatment and handling of export livestock.

In 2017–18, Australia exported 2.7 million head of livestock generating revenue of $1.5 billion. The department, as the regulator of live animal exports, requires exporters to ensure the health and welfare of animals in their care at every stage of the export chain. Reviews commissioned by the Australian Government in 2018 found a range of shortcomings in the department’s implementation of the regulatory framework. The reviews recommended strengthening compliance monitoring arrangements, improving regulatory oversight structures, investing in departmental skills, capability and systems, and enhancing engagement with stakeholders.

An audit of the department’s regulation of live animal exports would examine the department’s implementation of recommendations from the Review of the Regulatory Capability and Culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the Regulation of Live Animal Exports and the Independent Review of Conditions for the Export of Sheep to the Middle East During the Northern Hemisphere Summer.