Advocacy Update

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Read below about some of the current activities we are undertaking under our 3 Strategic Priority headings: Our Profession, Antimicrobial Resistance, and Animal Welfare.

 

Our profession

The AVA’s work in this category aims for a successful and sustainable veterinary workforce, and better regulation of the profession. We work to influence key legislation which impacts veterinarians, to ensure it places our profession in the best position to succeed.

Workforce: the 2018 Workforce Analysis was sent to members in July this year, including discussion of a range of AVA initiatives to address the issue of attrition from clinical practice, and workforce sustainability. The AVA is working on strategies to reduce graduate debt, increase the veterinary award, improve practice profitability, support vets returning to work, and improve the mental health of members of the profession. We held a workshop at the 2019 Group Summit and from that a Workforce Task Group has been formed. In September, meetings will be held with the Minister for Agriculture and Education to discuss schemes to both reduce graduate debt and encourage entry into rural practice. We will also be surveying members about the current veterinary award. More detail will be available in the next newsletter on all of this work.

Rural Placement Incentives Program for Veterinary Graduates

The AVA is currently lobbying the Federal Government to implement a Rural Incentives Program for Veterinary Graduates to assist in the shortage of rural veterinarians.

Read more about the Rural Placement Incentives Program for Veterinary Graduates here.

Biosecurity: in August, the AVA appeared before a National Senate Inquiry on the issue of farm trespass by animal activists. We explained the serious biosecurity risks associated with unauthorised access to farms, and repeated our call for national leadership in animal welfare to counter this trend. We emphasised the important role of the veterinarian in farm health and welfare through programs such as BIOCHECK® and WELFARECHECK®, and received media coverage in the national and also rural press.

Veterinary prescribing rights: the Commonwealth Government is undertaking a major review of veterinary prescribing and compounding regulatory requirements. At the end of 2018 we provided a detailed submission into the first stage of this process, focusing on livestock. We will again consult with members as the next phase progresses, so that we can best represent the prescribing needs of the profession into the future.

AVA Compounding Guidelines: in response to member feedback we have undertaken a review of these guidelines, to ensure consistency with legislation in each state and territory. The updated guidelines will provide members with a valuable resource to assist your use of compounded products, and help you to meet the expectations of your respective state and territory Veterinary Boards.

Veterinary Practice Acts: work progresses in the NT and WA on National Recognition of Veterinary Registration (NRVR) as these are the two jurisdictions yet to implement this important reform.

A range of other activities within the “Our Profession” category include reforming legislation around veterinary euthanasia of animals in Queensland, Local Council management of strays in NSW, advocating for legislated acts of veterinary science in Victoria, promoting Hendra vaccination, promoting the role of vets on farms, and responding to the risks posed by lay providers of cattle pregnancy testing, as some examples.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

The AVA’s work in AMR is an essential part of demonstrating good antimicrobial stewardship by the veterinary profession, to protect animal and human health, and to safeguard our profession’s continued access to antibiotics into the future.

National AMR Strategy – 2020 and Beyond: Recently we made a submission into the national strategy’s consultation process, including detail of AVA initiatives, and recommendations for government funding for AMR research & surveillance in the veterinary sector.

Antimicrobial prescribing guidelines for livestock and horses: work continues on this significant project to develop comprehensive guidelines in partnership with Animal Medicines Australia. The Pig Guidelines are complete, poultry and sheep guidelines underway, with cattle guidelines (beef, feedlot and dairy) and then horse guidelines to follow. The guidelines are designed to provide evidence-based and practical prescribing information. This will assist veterinarians to demonstrate responsible use of antibiotics and help protect our profession’s access to these important medicines.

Animal welfare

The AVA’s work on animal welfare aims to represent the views of our members on issues which matter to them, and to promote the important role of veterinarians as experts in animal health and welfare.

Live Export: the review of live export standards by the government is almost complete. AVA has provided advice into every stage of this process. We recently provided a submission into the Department of Agriculture’s consultation on conditions for sheep exports to the Middle East during September and October 2019.

As a result of advocacy from the AVA based on the science of heat stress and stocking density in sheep, we have helped to bring about important changes to welfare in the live sheep trade, including an increase in space allocation and suspension of transport during the most hot and humid months of the Middle Eastern summer.

Pet Food Regulation: the AVA continues to participate as part of the Government working group reviewing the regulation of pet food safety in Australia. The Senate Enquiry in 2018 echoed many of AVA’s recommendations, and we will be providing feedback into the process again in the near future.

Pet Dental Month: in August the AVA used social media to remind the public of the important role of the veterinarian in pet dental care. We also continued the campaign to raise public awareness of the problems with lay “anaesthesia-free dentistry”.

For further information on any of these initiatives, or to become involved, please contact:

Dr Melanie Latter
Head of Policy and Advocacy
melanie.latter@ava.com.au

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