AVA welcomes the NSW Government Parliamentary Inquiry as the vet shortage grows

22 Jun 2023

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) welcomes the NSW Government’s Inquiry into the veterinary workforce shortage in NSW.

Australia is experiencing an overall shortage of veterinarians which is placing animals at risk as well as those who work in the profession. This shortage is much more pronounced in rural and regional areas

“We have been talking about the veterinary workforce shortage some time and we thank the parliamentary committee for undertaking this inquiry and taking this issue seriously,” said AVA NSW Division President, Dr Zachary Lederhose.

In the AVA’s 2021 Workforce Survey Report, in NSW 40.51% of veterinary job vacancies took more than 12 months to fill. At a grass roots level this means the remaining vets are working longer and harder. In the rural context, with the added burden of afterhours work, the cumulative toll of this leads to practices closing as seen in Parkes and Wee Waa.

According to the AVA, the reasons for the current shortage are complex but include:

  • growth in pet ownership – Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership with 69% of households owning a pet
  • difficulty attracting veterinarians to regional areas and into production animal practice
  • high educational debt and low salaries, especially for veterinary graduates
  • challenging work environments and excessive workloads, leading to low retention rates.

“Given the range of contributing factors, we believe that addressing veterinary shortages will require a collaborative response involving the profession, animal related industries and government,” Dr Lederhose said.

The AVA encourages those involved in the veterinary profession to take advantage of the opportunity the inquiry presents to voice their concerns, provide insights and propose solutions to address the issue of veterinary shortages. Visit the AVA website.

For interviews requests, call 0439 628 898 or email media@ava.com.au.