Your Profession, Your Voice - AVA Advocacy Update

28 Sep 2021


In this Advocacy Update for August/ September: 

Key activities (national):  

  • COVID-19 Vaccination prioritisation for veterinary staff - We surveyed members on whether the AVA should lobby on this, and received over 1,200 responses with 89% replying yes. The AVA has written to the Commonwealth Minister along with State and Territory Ministers. We approached CVOs to seek their assistance. 
  • Petfood regulation - The AVA (along with RSPCA and PFIAA) wrote to the Minister on this issue and have received a response. The Minister indicating that the advice from the Pet Food Review Working Group would be put before State and Territory Agriculture Ministers. He emphasised that regulation is a State and Territory decision. A media release was issued by the AVA, which generated 5 media events. A huge thank you to Dr Linda Fleeman and Dr Sue Foster for their continued hard work in this area, as the subject matter experts. 

Ongoing work - there is a large body of ongoing advocacy work, some examples of which include: 

  • COVID-19 - We continue to provide support and advice to members in areas affected by COVID lockdowns and update the COVID-19 info hub. The COVID-19 Workplace Resource Toolkit 2021 provides important information, and an additional COVID tool kit focussed towards employees will be released very soon. 
  • Antimicrobial stewardship dairy guidelines are in their final proofing stages, and will be finalised and released very soon. 
  • Workforce Forum Feedback- All 1000 comments/questions received have been moved to a central spreadsheet that has been segmented into categories for further review and prioritisation.  
  • Workforce Survey - There was a record number of responses received (3770).  Analysis of this data is currently underway. 
  • Veterinary Wellbeing - ongoing work with our wellness partner, SuperFriend - collecting data from the recent survey which went out to the entire profession to determine the next step in developing the AVA Wellness Strategy.  
  • Policy Advisory council meeting - this group met in early September. An update from this meeting will be included in the next report. 

Key activities (Division): 

  • QLD - COVID-19 Border issues – The current Delta virus outbreak in NSW saw Qld borders tightened, with new requirements including vaccination of essential workers. Border issues and confusion are concerning veterinarians who work close to, and over, the border. The AVA engaged with Biosecurity Qld and wrote to the Premiers office to voice how this would impact animal and human welfare. 
  • VIC – COVID-19 and Grooming – The AVA collaborated with other groups to successfully reinstate provision of grooming services during lockdown on animal welfare grounds.  
  • NSW – Animal Welfare Review – The AVA has provided a submission around the NSW Animal Welfare Reform Discussion Paper. 

Key activities (Special Interest Groups): 

  • The TGA is seeking submissions (close October 7th) regarding the creation of a new Schedule 6 entry for meloxicam that captures injectable preparations at up to 2% concentration, for the pre-surgical treatment of sheep undergoing husbandry procedures. The AVA has a working group in place to develop a submission to oppose this, and is also requesting member assistance through individual submissions. For details on how you can assist, visit the 'Get Involved' page on the AVA website. 
  • A specific formulation of lidocaine (commonly referred to as lignocaine in Australia) has been rescheduled. The AVA put in a submission against this rescheduling in January 2021. A decision has since been made, and we now have  a working group in place to work on the next steps. For details on how you can assist, visit the 'Get Involved' page on the AVA website. 
  • Footrot Steering Committee and diagnosis standards – Through the Sheep, Camelid and Goat special interest group, the AVA has written to Animal Health Australia seeking a nationally consistent diagnosis for footrot. At a reginal level, we have written to the NSW steering committee requesting representation.  
  • Endorsement of the AVA Code of Practice for Camelid Welfare (2016) by the Australian Alpaca Association has endorsed the AVA Code of Practice for Camelid Welfare (2016) - thank you to the hard work of the Sheep, Camelid and Goat special interest group.  
  • Pet Insurance – Through the Veterinary Business group, the AVA continues to work with Guild to enhance the Vets Choice product to provide the highest quality of pet insurance in the marketplace. The AVA is currently surveying Vets Choice partners to gain feedback on the product. 

Public Affairs Update 

  • During June, July and August, the AVA has participated in 12 stakeholder meetings, covering a wide range of issues from animal welfare to regulatory issues. 
  • During August the AVA has issued 4 media releases (3 reactive) and there have been 17 media mentions. 

Dr Cristy Secombe 
AVA Head of Veterinary and Public Affairs