The Senate: Notice of Motion - 23 March 2011

The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia - The Senate General Business - Notice of Motion

Senators Back, Ludwig and Milne: To move - That the Senate-

(1) notes that:

(a) this year marks the two-hundred and fiftieth anniversary of veterinary education with the establishment of the first veterinary school in Lyon, France, in 1761; and

(b) around the world, 2011 is being designated World Veterinary Year to honour the contribution and achievements of the veterinary profession in the community to animal health and production, public health, animal welfare, food safety and biosecurity; 34 No. 30-21 March 2011

(2) recognises that:

(a) in Australia, 2011 marks the one hundred and twentieth anniversary of the first class of graduates from the inaugurated Melbourne Veterinary College;

(b) seven schools of veterinary medicine are now established in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, WA and SA;

(c) veterinarians:

(i) are dedicated to preserving the bond between humans and animals by practising and promoting the highest standards of science-based, ethical animal welfare with all animals, large and small;

(ii) are on the front line maintaining Australia's status as free from exotic diseases which threaten the environment, human and animal health, providing extensive pro bono services annually through ethical treatment of unowned animals and wildlife;

(iii) are vital to ensuring the high quality of Australia's commercial herds and flocks and security of our food supply; and

(iv) provide a valuable public health service through preventative medicine, control of zoonotic disease and scientific research; and

(d) significant contributions and achievements have been made by many individual members of the
Australian veterinary profession including:

(i) Nobel Prize winner and Australian of the Year, Dr Peter C. Doherty, who achieved major breakthroughs in the field of immunology which were vital in understanding the body's rejection of incompatible tissues in transplantation, and in fighting meningitis viruses;

(ii) Professor Mary Barton, a leading veterinary bacteriologist with a distinguished career in government
and in veterinary public health, who has a strong research background in bacterial infections of animals

and in antibiotic resistance in animal and human health; and

(iii) Dr Reg Pascoe, a renowned equine surgeon and dermatologist and leader in his profession for

more than 50 years, who published 70 research papers and many texts while earning a doctorate and running a busy practice in Oakey, and dedicated years to the National Veterinary Examination and the Veterinary Surgeons' Board of Queensland; and

(3) recognises:

(a) that 2011 is World Veterinary Year;

(b) the valuable and diverse roles veterinarians perform in the Australian community; and

(c) the veterinary profession as it celebrates the past and continuing contribution by veterinarians.

A snapshot of facts and figures


  • 7 veterinary schools
  • 2500 undergraduate veterinary students
  • 550 - 600 veterinary graduates annually
  • 2100 (22%) veterinarians have advanced training and clinical qualifications from the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.
  • Many have advanced training and qualifications from specialist certifying organisations in North America and Europe.
  • Many have advanced academic qualifications such as masters and doctoral degrees.


  • 9100 registered veterinarians
  • 7000 (78%) veterinarians in private veterinary practice
  • 5500 veterinarians in city-based practices
  • 1500 in rural and regional veterinary practices
  • 2500 private veterinary clinics and hospitals
  • 2000 (22%) veterinarians work in other occupations, mainly government services
  • Veterinarians are regulated by specific legislation in each state and territory
  • National recognition of veterinary degrees by the states and territories commences in Australia in 2011.


  • Private veterinary businesses generate about $2 billion annually in gross revenues
  • Pro bono work to the value of $29.7 million annually - higher recently after fires, floods and cyclones
  • Look after the health and welfare of millions of animals owned by about 300,000 livestock farmers producing $12 - $15 billion annually.

Science and society

  • The most broadly trained biological scientists in the community - adaptable, versatile contributors to society in general.
  • Provide healthcare to more than 1 million horses owned by about 400,000 people, 3.4 million dogs owned by 2.9 million households, 2.35 million cats owned by 1.83 million households, plus thousands of unusual and exotic pets
  • Oversee food safety aspects of animal production
  • Vital to the biosecurity and quarantine systems that prevent, monitor and respond to imported and other disease threats.


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