The capacity to rapidly identify and respond to suspicion of animal disease is fundamental to protecting the integrity of the Australian livestock industry. An incursion of a nationally significant endemic, emerging or exotic animal disease could be disruptive and economically damaging for the industry, broader community and national economy. To counter this potential threat, a surveillance system that includes general and targeted activities exists at a jurisdictional and national level. Such a system requires a collaborative effort from all involved to work towards a common goal, reflecting the notion of shared responsibility. As in all systems, the animal health surveillance system can be enhanced or constrained by the relationships of the players involved. This study focusses on two livestock industries, dairy cattle and sheep, exploring the interrelationships between all stakeholders, and their role within the Australian animal health surveillance system. A stakeholder mapping exercise was undertaken, including a depiction of the perceived level of stakeholder interest and influence on producers' animal health surveillance practices and/or the surveillance system. Results from these activities were expanded upon through interviews. The findings reveal complex networks and a system that is, at times, constrained by institutional and individual barriers such as communication between and within stakeholders, and uncertainty about the consequences of reporting a suspected emergency disease. Whilst these challenges have the potential to negatively impact the robustness of the animal disease surveillance system, the study also provides clear evidence of strong and effective relationships amongst many of the key individuals and organisations.