Victoria Division President Update - October 2023

02 Oct 2023

With the year fast disappearing, the Victorian Division is excited to announce a conference day and dinner on Friday November 17th to be held at Melbourne Zoo. “Human Skills for Animal Experts” is an opportunity for all members of the veterinary team to develop their abilities that relate to how we work and interact with other people, including self-awareness and emotional intelligence, boundaries, and difficult conversations. We will follow the day’s activities with an opportunity to walk around the zoo before dinner in one of the onsite pavilions – a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues, chew the fat, and meet the Victoria Division team. We warmly invite you to attend and look forward to seeing you at our 1st post-COVID event.

The past month has seen the Victorian Vet Board travel the state holding forums for practitioners. I, along with some other members of the Victoria Division team, attended the Melbourne CBD event, while other committee members attended regional forums. It was great to see the Board interacting with the profession in this way, allowing for frank and transparent discourse between vets and the Board. I applaud this initiative and hope all who attended were able to express any concerns and ideas for the future direction of the Vet Board.

I also had the opportunity in August to meet with the Chief Veterinary Officer of Victoria, Dr Graeme Cooke. We were able to discuss animal disease preparedness, and how the AVA and DEECA can work together in times of crisis, especially in disseminating information to the veterinary profession. I look forward to continuing this ongoing relationship.

Within the Victocira Division Committee itself, we have been having ongoing discussion regarding the vet shortage, and in particular the strain this is placing on rural and regional practices – a theme that was unsurprisingly identified by attendees at the Vet Board forums as a problem for the future of the veterinary profession. This follows on from the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry and is a high priority issue for the AVA at all levels. There will be an opportunity for your input into the workforce shortage issue soon, to help the AVA gather data to better inform us and provide an evidence-base for the creation of ongoing strategies to combat this problem.

We welcome your thoughts and opinions on this, and all issues that are pertinent to our profession at branch, state and national levels. To aid local discussion, it is crucial that we reinvigorate the branches. Although some Victorian branches are still active, others appear to have lapsed into dormancy during COVID. I have reached out to all our current branch contacts to encourage and support the branch activation process required by the AVA. Thanks to those who have responded. If you are in an area where you are unsure of who your branch reps are or you don’t believe there is a local branch, please get in touch so we can follow up and possibly support the formation/activation of a new branch. The AVA is only as strong as its members, and the local branches are the grass roots social, support and advocacy networks for members which should inform the AVA agenda, and from which our volunteer and elected leaders rise. I look froward to seeing our Victorian branches active and vigorous, and hope to attend some future branch meetings.