Steps to developing an animal welfare code

Codes of welfare expand on the Animal Welfare Act 1999. They are developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) and are issued by the Minister for Primary Industries. Read the 5 steps NAWAC follows to develop a code of welfare.

NAWAC's role

Codes of welfare are developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), not MPI.

The Animal Welfare Act sets out the requirements NAWAC must follow when developing a code of welfare.

Five steps

There are 5 steps for developing a code of welfare.

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Step 1: Drafting a code

Anyone can draft a code of welfare and submit it to NAWAC to consider. If an issue is considered a priority, NAWAC can draft a code itself. If a specific industry or organisation believes a code is needed, it needs to raise the issue with NAWAC first, then invest its own resources to develop a code to the draft stage before sending it to NAWAC for consideration.

To contact NAWAC, email

Step 2: Reviewing the code

Whoever drafts the code, NAWAC must review the code to ensure:

  • it complies with the Animal Welfare Act
  • it's written clearly
  • representatives of anyone directly affected by the code are consulted.

Not all draft codes sent to NAWAC for consideration will be developed. When NAWAC decides against developing a code, the committee will tell the drafter. The Minister is also kept informed about codes being considered for development.

Once the draft is approved, NAWAC puts the draft code out for consultation with the public.

NAWAC has published guidelines that explain the considerations it must make when reviewing a draft code of welfare:

Step 3: Consulting on the code

When seeking public consultation on a draft code, NAWAC will advertise in major newspapers and publish the consultation document on MPI's website.

If you want to give feedback on a draft code, it helps to read NAWAC's guidelines for reviewing codes (listed in step 2) and its principles of consultation.

Download NAWAC's principles of consultation [PDF, 60 KB]

After submissions close, NAWAC considers all feedback and incorporates it into the code, as appropriate. It also ensures the code is still legally sound and clearly written.

Step 4: Finalising the code

NAWAC makes sure that:

  • the proposed standards are the minimum needed to ensure that the purposes of the Animal Welfare Act will be met
  • the recommendations for best practice (if any) are appropriate.

The code is then recommended to the Minister for Primary Industries for approval.

Step 5: Publishing the final code

Once the Minister has approved the code, it is usually printed in hard copy and published on MPI's website.

NAWAC also prepares a report that explains why the committee made the recommendations it did, any significant differences of opinion that came from public submissions, and any significant differences of opinion within NAWAC.

Who to contact

If you have questions about developing codes of welfare, email

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