Biosecurity a key priority for vets in Tasmanian state election

Media release date: 
Tuesday, 27 February 2018

With a state election fast-approaching, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) Tasmanian Division is calling on the incoming government to commit to better animal disease surveillance.

AVA President, Dr Paula Parker, said that it’s critical to have veterinarians on farms, especially in rural parts of Tasmania, to enhance biosecurity and disease surveillance and keep Tasmania’s animal industries, healthy, productive and profitable.

“Over the last 20 years, resourcing of government veterinary positions has decreased leaving gaps in the ability of the public sector to deliver biosecurity surveillance data and placing more reliance on private veterinarians to fill these gaps.

“We are urging the government to not only recognise the value of veterinarians on farms but also the risks involved by increasingly depending on private veterinarians to provide animal disease surveillance data.

“Veterinarians identify, diagnose, treat and prevent disease in animals every day. We’re worried that having fewer veterinarians on farms in Tasmania could leave them vulnerable to a range of biosecurity and animal disease threats.”

Dr Parker said that while biosecurity is a shared responsibility, a formal partnership framework needs to be implemented to provide greater support and assistance in this area.

“That assistance includes enhanced information systems and easy access to laboratory services with sufficient government veterinary staff to analyse data and develop appropriate responses and policies,” she said.

A summary of AVA’s recommendations are:

  • That formal assisted partnerships between government agencies and private veterinarians be pursued to enhance surveillance and significant disease investigations within the state. This will protect both the sustainability of the state’s livestock industries and the viability of rural and regional veterinary practice.
  • Enhanced provision of training in significant disease investigation and emergency animal disease management necessary for maximum effectiveness across the private and public sectors. Training must be recognised as a continuous process whose provision is adequately resourced in an ongoing manner at all levels.
  • A commitment to employing and training veterinary graduates in the public sector to ensure that expertise is maintained at a level commensurate to the burgeoning livestock (aquatic and terrestrial) industries. We need to maintain and build on government veterinary roles to ensure a sustainable government veterinary workforce in the future.

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 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

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