The Act makes specific provision for a person who is aggrieved by certain decisions of an inspector to be reviewed either by the Minister for Agriculture and Food or the State Administrative Tribunal (the SAT). The Act also makes provision for decisions of the Minister to be reviewed by the SAT. These decisions are termed 'reviewable decisions'.
What is a reviewable decision?
A reviewable decision is any of the following:
a. A decision made by the Minister in relation to a licence to use or supply animals for scientific purposes:
- to decline to issue or renew a licence
- the period that a licence is issued or renewed
- the conditions on a licence, or
- to suspend or revoke a licence or to disqualify a person from applying for a licence.
b. A decision made by an inspector to exercise, or the manner of exercising, a power under:
- Section 40(1)(b) of the Act in relation to the provision of care or treatment. That is, where an inspector has directed a person in control of an animal to provide to the animal care or treatment the inspector considers necessary to ensure the welfare, safety and health of the animal. A direction under section 40(1)(b) of the Act in relation to the provision of food, water or shelter to an animal is not a reviewable decision.
- Section 42(1)(a) of the Act in relation to seizure of an animal without a warrant. That is where an inspector has seized an animal the inspector reasonably suspected that an offence under Part 3 [that is, cruelty (section 19) or shooting, hunting or fighting captive animals (section 32)] is being, or has been, committed in respect of the animal.
- Section 43(1) of the Act in relation to seizure of anything other than an animal without a warrant. That is where an inspector has seized anything other than an animal that the inspector reasonably suspects is being, or has been, used to commit or may afford evidence of the commission of an offence under the Act.
- Section 47(1)(d), (e) or (j) of the Act. Directions in relation to an animal — where subject to sections 38, 39, 42 and 43, an inspector has:
- directed a person to take an animal to a specified place, or to put it in a specified vehicle, within a specified time
- directed a person not to remove an animal from a specified place or vehicle for a specified period, or
- given any directions to a person in control of an animal that the inspector considers are necessary to protect the welfare, safety and health of the animal.
Minister’s power delegated to the Director General of DPIRD
The Minister has delegated the power to review objections to the Director General of DPIRD. Any objection that is received will be managed as determined by the Director General given the nature of the objection. Therefore a reference to the Minister extends to the Director General of DPIRD.
When does a right to object to a reviewable decision occur?
The time when a person aggrieved by a reviewable decision can object occurs as follows:
- The decision of the Minister on a licensing matter — the time when the applicant or licensee received notice of the decision.
- The decision of the Minister on an objection — the time when the person who made the objection received notice of the result of the decision of the Minister on the objection.
- The decision of an inspector — the time when the relevant power was exercised, for example, when the animals were seized or when the direction was given by an inspector.
How does an aggrieved person make an objection?
A person aggrieved by a reviewable decision may object to the decision, if the person has not applied to State Administrative Tribunal for a review of the decision (see sections 72 and 74 of the Act).
The objection is made on the prescribed form by completing Form 2 contained in Schedule 2 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations 2003 (Section 72(2)). For a copy of Form 2, please contact Animal Welfare Regulation on the contact details below.
The objection is to be lodged with the Minister within 28 days of when the time the right to object arose (see section 'When does a right to object to a reviewable decision occur?'), unless the Minister has allowed an extension of time to this lodgement period. The objection and supporting documentation can be e-mailed to Animal Welfare General Enquiries (e-mail link at the bottom of this page).
The effect of an objection on a reviewable decision
When an objection has been made against a decision, the effect of the decision is suspended until the Minister deals with the objection, unless the Minister directs otherwise.
In the case where a reviewable decision concerns the seizure of an animal, consideration will be given in regards to whether a recommendation will be made to the Minister that the Minister direct that the effect of the decision is not suspended where the suspension may lead to an adverse animal welfare outcome.
How is an objection dealt with?
On receiving an objection the Minister must:
- give the person who made the objection a reasonable opportunity to make submissions in relation to the objection
- deal with the objection as expeditiously as possible.
In dealing with the objection the Minister may do any one of the following:
- Dismiss the objection.
- Vary the decision that has been objected to.
- Revoke the decision that has been objected to and replace it with a new decision. Any new decision is not able to be objected to, and a person aggrieved by the new decision may only apply to the State Administrative Tribunal for a review of the decision.
- Revoke the decision that has been objected to and refer the matter, with or without directions, to the original decision maker for another decision. Any new decision is able to be objected to in the same way as the original decision.
The Minister is to give to the person who made the objection a written notice of the Minister’s decision on the objection and the reasons for it. There is no time limit set for providing the written notice to the person.
If the written notice is not provided within 35 days of lodgement of the objection, the aggrieved person may apply to the SAT for a review of the decision.
It is DPIRD’s policy for all objections to be dealt with within 35 days where possible and the person who made the objection provided with a written notice of the decision and the reasons for it. In circumstances where the objection cannot be dealt with in 35 days the Director General may provide advice to the person making the objection on the time frame for completion of the process, which will not exceed 60 days.
How is a review dealt with?
A person aggrieved by a reviewable decision may apply to the State Administrative Tribunal for a review of that decision, if the person:
- has not already lodged an objection to the decision with the Minister
- has lodged an objection but has not been given by the Minister a written notice of the decision and the reasons for it [s.73(3)] at the expiration of 35 days after the objection was lodged, or
- has lodged an objection and has been given by the Minister a written notice of the decision and the reasons for it, may apply to the SAT for a review of the Minister’s decision.
The effect of an application for review
If an application for review has been made in relation to a decision on a licensing matter or of an inspector, the effect of that decision is suspended until the SAT deals with the matter, unless the SAT orders otherwise.
If an application for review has been made in relation to a decision of the Minister on an objection, the effect of the decision that was the subject of the objection is suspended until the SAT deals with the matter, unless the SAT orders otherwise.
If the matter is before the courts, a person may still make an application for a review to the SAT. The SAT will determine whether the matter will be heard before, after, or concurrently with, the legal proceedings.