Better regulation

One of the AVA's three strategic priorities is "Our Profession". A number of projects sit under this heading, and one of them is the AVA's work to ensure better regulation of the profession.

Legislation affecting the veterinary profession

There are a large number of legislative Acts at national, state, territory and local levels that impact the veterinary profession.  In any given year, the AVA will need to respond to scheduled periodic reviews of these Acts, as well as any unscheduled proposed regulatory amendments due to changes in government policy.

At the national level, relevant legislation relates to quarantine and biosecurity, emergency animal diseases, the regulation of veterinary medicines, and live export.

State and territory jurisdictions are responsible for animal welfare regulation, the regulation of veterinary practitioners, stock diseases, poisons and therapeutic goods, companion animal management legislation, work place health and safety, and use of radiation technology.

Local governments often call for comment on by-laws and other regulations relating to the management of companion animals in their communities.

National recognition of veterinary registration (NRVR)

In conjunction with the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council and the Animal Health Committee, the AVA  helped develop a model for national recognition of veterinary registration (NRVR) across Australia. This was agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

NRVR allows veterinarians to move and practise more easily across state borders, and also allow greater competition in veterinary services in line with National Competition Policy. It will allow greater freedom of movement for veterinarians responding to national crises or working for national animal enterprises.

State legislation to enact the model is in the process of being introduced progressively across jurisdictions. In Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT, veterinarians residing and registered in another Australian jurisdiction can practise without registering in those states. Only WA and NT are yet to adopt NRVR.

Harmonisation of Veterinary Practice Acts

State laws vary significantly around which procedures may only be done by veterinarians, who can access veterinary medicines, and under what circumstances. To simplify this, the AVA recommends national harmonisation of veterinary practice legislation. In 2014, AVA completed a project to develop Recommended key principles for veterinary practice acts in Australia (updated May 2017). These key principles are the guidebook for all AVA advocacy in relation to veterinary legislation.


Restricted acts of veterinary science

Veterinarians are very concerned about a trend in some states that allows invasive procedures to be undertaken by non-veterinarians. These can have serious animal welfare implications for the animals, and create significant extra costs for animal owners. They include the use of power tools in equine dentistry, pregnancy testing in cattle, lay spaying of cattle, and so-called "anaesthesia-free dentistry" in companion animals.

Veterinarians are active and committed to retaining 'acts of veterinary science' in governing legislation to ensure that people who undertake invasive or potentially dangerous procedures on animals have the necessary education and training to do it safely and humanely. A widespread trend towards deregulation by Australian governments applies continuing pressure to remove the protection to animals and their owners afforded by legislated acts of veterinary science.

Australia’s veterinary profession wants sensible and consistent regulation for the whole country that protects the welfare of animals and the rights of owners to a quality service, while also creating the environment for a sustainable and healthy veterinary profession in the long term.

AgVet Chemical legislation and national harmonisation of veterinary prescribing

The regulation of veterinary medicines takes place at both the national and state level. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority is the Australian Government agency responsible for registering veterinary medicines and ensuring compliance with regulations relating to their advertising and promotion.

Sale, prescription, dispensing and use of veterinary medicines is controlled by state and territory drugs and poisons legislation. This legislation is administered by the department of health in each jurisdiction.

The AVA provides advice on the use and regulation of veterinary medicines across all these agencies. The ultimate goal of advocacy on these issues is safe, responsible use of medicines in animals, the protection of international trade and domestic food supplies from unsafe medication residues, and maximising the benefits to animals of pharmaceuticals.

In 2017-2019 the AVA has been providing detailed submissions into the national review of AgVet chemical legislation, whcih seeks to harmonise differences across states and potentially increase restrictions on prescribing rights. We will continue to advocate in our members' interests on this issue.



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