In the lead-up to the Northern Territory election later this month, the NT division of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has formulated an election platform statement addressed to all political parties and candidates.
In this, it urges the Territory’s future new government to boost resources to government biosecurity veterinary services.
“Government vets are on the frontline of our nation’s quarantine and biosecurity systems,” said Dr Bree Clisby, AVA NT Division president.
“They are in the field as well as in policy and laboratory positions protecting Australia from major animal disease outbreaks, such as rabies and other exotic diseases which have had devastating consequences in some of our neighbouring countries.”
In its recent review of Australia’s veterinary services, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recognised Australia as a world leader in animal health and biosecurity. However, it also raised concerns about the nation’s ability to manage a disease emergency given current government veterinary staffing levels.
Dr Clisby said, “It’s essential that we have a biosecurity workforce in the Northern Territory. It’s the only way to properly safeguard the health of our community and protect our export industries.”
The election platform statement also highlights other policy issues the AVA hopes the new NT government will address. These include the need to amend the Animal Welfare Act and to strengthen of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee; to develop and adopt dedicated companion animal legislation, and to amend the Veterinarians Act so that only qualified vets can perform potentially dangerous procedures, such as teeth polishing.