NSW President's report

December 2017

Sometimes we can be guilty of labelling things unfairly and the last few months have shown me that labelling is an unwise path to go down.

Our committee and EO have had a lot of dealings with various Government bodies and individuals trying to further our members' interests since last writing.

Firstly, I have been lucky to have been invited to State, Periurban and National seminars and workshops on Biosecurity. I appreciate the invitations organised by the DPI and without doubt all have been worthwhile. They certainly have helped me going from a believer in Biosecurity "from a distance" to a passionate supporter eager to push the cause. It was simply great to hear the message that as vets, it is recognised our input is highly respected - usually the most essential in Animal Health (as it should be). This of course refers to all of us, whether in private practice or the government. If there are "faults in the system" e.g. Lab services from EMAI, it is vitally important you let either NSW AVA or a Government Vet know - our feedback is essential.

Secondly - several months have passed since three of us met with the Transport Dept regarding allowance of pets on the Light Rail. We were hoping this to start and prove successful, which may have led to wider acceptance of pets in public transport. Alas the slower pace of the Transport Dept is slowing down our progress. Members may not realise that pets in cages / closed baskets are allowed at present in all but interurban trains, at the discretion of the driver.

Third. A major frustration for those of us in practice is the issues of councils and strays.We believe there are a minority of councils who take THEIR responsibility with strays seriously, the majority are not doing this. This poor performance of these councils are costing us time, money and emotional grief. We have tried putting our case to an initially sympathetic Office of Local Government staff but realise they were not interested to take our concerns further. It is more complicated because the three relevant Acts are enforced by two government departments (OLG and DPI ). As some of you may recall, we sent out a member's survey a few months ago and your response showed huge problems across the state. Even though the survey has finished, please send any experiences (good and bad) and suggestions to our EO, Sue McGrath at sue.mcgrath@ava.com.au. At our next committee meeting in a few weeks we will be doing a best to come up with some ideas to help all of us.

On other matters, it was great to see National AVA incorporate the all inclusive policy of us all, irrespective of gender, race, same sex relationship, beliefs etc. Full credit to Anne Fawcett on our committee for doing the "hard yards" on this important policy.

One very important function of NSW AVA is having regional conferences - to us they are an essential way of trying to help the CVE and social interaction of those in the country who don't get the necessary opportunities. I have been to many of these and the friendly, less rushed atmosphere and quality have been first class. For many years, the driving force was our committee member, Geoff Scarlett, and now Tara Cashman who with our EO, are doing a great job of putting a lot of effort into keeping these going. They really are special weekends, and whether you are from the country or want a weekend away from the city, I strongly recommend them. It would be very sad if they became financially unsustainable - a big loss for all of us - so please support them. On a similar vein, Tara puts in a heap of time with Branch meetings around the state - again please support in the interests of all of us, including our work/life balance.

Our committee appreciates the cooperation we get from the VPB and the importance of having open and free communication with them. One example was the joint Stress in the Workplace night in Western Sydney earlier this year. There is no doubt that they share our concerns of the welfare of all and are open to matters we raise on behalf of our members.

On behalf of our members, we wish for the best for Rosanne Taylor, the last Dean of Veterinary Science of Sydney Uni. It is no secret, Rosanne had a tough job as the Vet Teaching Hospital and the Faculty went through major restructuring (as most probably know , it is now a School, not a Faculty). We have had a lot of dealings with Rosanne over the years and she has kept us informed (as much as allowed) and seemed always to serve the interests of students and our wider profession.

Hopefully, those that attended the first NSW AVA Ball had a great night. Next year it will  be bigger then ever and great work by Sue McGrath in doing so much work for this - as well as so many other things she does. The Golf Day has gone - next is the Sailing Day - never to be missed.

Best wishes to all over the holiday period - please correspond on any matter you feel we can help. As always, try to take the time to look after your work/life balance.

Michael (Mick) Kidd


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