Vets call for essential nationwide border permits during COVID-19

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Photo: Iakov Filimonov – 123rf

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has joined the National Farmers Federation in calling upon the Federal Government to urgently establish a nationwide permit for the safe movement of agricultural workers, including livestock and equine veterinarians.

AVA president Dr Warwick Vale labelled the current situation ‘untenable’ and said that it was causing direct harm to farmers, vets, and rural communities. 

“Border restrictions vary between each state and territory government; for a workforce that needs to cross borders to do their job, it is completely untenable,” Dr Vale said.

“Using postcodes to determine border permit eligibility does not recognise the essential requirements of veterinarians who need to react when required, and on many occasions on short notice.”

Recent widespread rainfall has meant that on-farm activity is increasing, so the inability of agricultural workers and veterinarians to cross borders for work is placing significant financial stress on farmers and compromising the welfare of animals. 

Dr Vale said it was simply unacceptable to place undue hardship on rural communities who have only just recently weathered catastrophic bushfires, droughts and—in some areas—severe flooding.

“The ongoing survival of our agricultural industry and the welfare of our animals must be prioritised,” he said. 

“We are calling upon government to act immediately to develop an agricultural worker permit similar to that developed for the freight industry to enable the critical movement of agriculture workers, including veterinarians.”

This article was sourced from a media release on the Vet Voice (AVA) website.

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