The Australian Seeds Authority (ASA) is a not-for-profit, limited-by-guarantee company, which was established jointly by the Australian Seed Federation (ASF) and the Grains Council of Australia (GCA) in 2002. It operates under a licence issued by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
The ASA Board comprised 7 Directors – three nominated by ASF, three nominated by GCA and one appointed by DAFF. Apart from the DAFF appointee, all Directors had to be elected at the Annual General Meeting of ASA. The Constitution provided for 2 classes of members, with ASF and GCA being B class members, and each having 40% of the total vote at a General Meeting. All other members were A class members.
In 2008, the ASA Constitution was amended to add an Independent Director to replace the DAFF-nominated Director. The Independent Director must be jointly nominated by GCA and ASF and elected at an AGM.
The GCA was wound up in 2010, but prior to that, the Constitution of ASA was amended so that a General Meeting could elect a new B class member on the nomination of the Board. The newly formed organisation Grain Producers Australia (GPA) was elected as a new B class member at the ASA AGM in December 2010.
The Board elects a Chairman, and this position rotates between ASF and GPA-nominated Directors.
The Board has appointed a part-time Chief Executive Office and a part-time Executive Officer, who attend Board meetings, but are not members of the Board. The Board meets 3 or 4 times per year, with at least one meeting in-person, and the others usually by teleconference.
The CEO provides regular reports to the Board, including monthly financial reports.
The Board has also established two advisory committees, a Technical Advisory Committee (ASATAC) to provide advice and recommendations on technical matters, and a Public Variety Maintenance Panel (PVMP) which oversights and recommends maintenance arrangements for public varieties for which the breeder is no longer willing or able to provide a supply of Basic Seed.
Information about these two committees is available elsewhere on this site.
ASA reports to the Australian seed industry at the ASF National Seed Convention, which is usually held in August, and consults with the industry on issues which have significant implications for the seed industry.
ASA also reports to DAFF as, under its licence, ASA acts as the National Designated Authority for the OECD Seed Schemes. ASA also acts as a coordinating body for issues affecting the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) but DAFF has retained the role of national contact for ISTA.