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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 23 August 2018) . . Page.. 3562 ..


Counsel’s Office to draft some amendments, and I gave the government a copy of the AVA’s paper. The matters raised were discussed in the briefing and resulted in most of the amendments you will see today from the minister and me.

In fact, it almost became a case of amendments at 20 paces, but I am pleased the government has seen the merits of these amendments and we have largely agreed on an approach for a streamlined debate today. All of these amendments, except one which responds to the scrutiny report, came about directly as a result of my consultation with the Australian Veterinary Association.

This bill provides a clear pathway for the regulation of veterinary professionals in the ACT. It provides clear pathways for veterinarians from other jurisdictions to bring their skills to the ACT. It provides a clear pathway for diversity on the board, bringing a range of expertise to that board. And it provides the foundation for an effective and efficient regulation system. The Liberal opposition is very pleased to support the Veterinary Practice Bill.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (3.48): I speak in support of the Veterinary Practice Bill 2018. The regulation of the veterinary services industry is necessary not just because such regulation seeks a guarantee of a fair and responsible work environment but because this industry involves care of and interaction with animals. Defending the welfare and health of animals is something that is very important to the ACT Greens, as well, of course, as the health and welfare of humans.

Within the veterinary services industry standards of care are ever increasing: there is greater use of technology, more vets are specialising, there are advancements in procedures and a growing awareness amongst pet owners of animal health issues. Ensuring that the legislation is working effectively and keeping up with a changing industry is of great importance. The Greens support this work which will revoke the Veterinary Surgeons Act 2015 and, therefore, the Veterinary Surgeons Regulations 2015 and introduces a more contemporary bill.

I am aware that the Veterinary Surgeons Act came about because veterinary services were split off from the Health Professionals Act when other health professionals became part of a national health professionals scheme. Those reforms in 2015 were to establish a standalone Veterinary Surgeons Act. That was always going to be the first stage; further reforms to strengthen the system were to follow. These, I believe, are they, so I am very pleased that there has been a comprehensive review of the 2015 legislation, a consideration of different models and consultation with stakeholders, industry professionals and the community.

I believe the bill is modelled on the New South Wales laws, and I understand they have treated the New South Wales veterinary surgeons well over the years. Hopefully this bill will stand up to the expectations and serve well ACT veterinary practitioners, as they will now be referred to once this bill passes.

Of course, while this bill is modelled on New South Wales laws it has been adapted as a result of consultation primarily with the vet sector for our local ACT needs. The bill includes all the standard powers one would expect from an act that governs the


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