Media release

Australia’s peak veterinary organisation appoints new president

Media release date: 
Friday, 02 July 2010

Melbourne-based horse specialist Dr Barry Smyth has been appointed to the role as President of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), representing veterinarians throughout Australia.

“It is an exciting time to be heading up the Australian Veterinary Association as we enter a period of consolidation for the organisation,” said Dr Smyth.

“The AVA continues to develop new services and support for its members while providing advice to governments and the community about animal health and welfare.

“I intend to continue to build on the important work undertaken by the past president Dr Mark Lawrie in these areas,” he said.

The AVA is the national professional association of veterinary surgeons in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 6000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

Now working as an equine consultant in Essendon Victoria, Dr Smyth has more than 35 years in veterinary practice having worked in Australia, the Middle East, the USA, and the West Indies.

“I see the role of the AVA as developing close relationships with the more than 6000 members in every branch of veterinary medicine and liaising with government departments, welfare organisations and industry stakeholders to advance the role of the profession.”

“Some of the major challenges facing the AVA are the impact of deregulation on the profession, reduced funding for biosecurity and quarantine, decreased importance of agriculture in the political debate, problems associated with increased debt for veterinary undergraduates, and the need to support veterinarians in rural and regional areas,” he said.

After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1972, Dr Smyth spent his first two years in mixed practice in suburban Melbourne, before undertaking an internship and residency in veterinary surgery and then a PhD at the University of Melbourne.

From there he spent a brief period in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in equine practice, followed by locum work in Victoria and then an appointment as Assistant Professor in Large Animal Surgery at Auburn University, Alabama (USA). He then taught veterinary physiology at Ross University Veterinary School in St Kitts in the West Indies.

In 1992 Dr Smyth returned to Australia to teach at Murdoch University in Perth, and in 1996 went into private veterinary practice with thoroughbred horses at Flemington in Victoria.

Dr Smyth is a Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Murdoch University and a Graduate Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

The former president Dr Mark Lawrie (President of the AVA from 2008 to 2010) will remain on the board of directors the AVA for the next two years.

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on (02) 9431 5062, 0439 628 898 or media@ava.com.au.


The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 7500 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

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