Dr Katelyn Thompson from AAA Vet Clinic is calling on Senator for Queensland and Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt to take urgent action to address the veterinary workforce shortage in rural Queensland.
AAA Vet Clinic employs 2 vets and supports the community in Mt Isa and surrounding areas.
Veterinary clinics across Australia are closing down due to workforce shortages, and employers are seeking Government action.
There are 941 veterinary businesses in Queensland which employ more than 3,800 vets.
“As a veterinarian in Mt Isa since 2017 and practice owner since 2019 there has definitely been a reduction in the amount of full time vets that the clinic has been able to hire, especially given the commitment the practice owners are making to support pay and give the potential veterinarians a great work life balance,” said Dr Thompson.
Australian Veterinary Association President, Dr Diana Barker, said more needed to be done by the Australian Government and called for a rural HELP Forgiveness Scheme to assist.
“Demand for veterinary services in our communities continues to grow, but if we don’t support the workforce we could see the entire profession collapse,” Dr Barker said.
“Rural and regional Queensland has a rich and vibrant agriculture sector that relies on veterinary services to ensure animals are healthy and disease-free.
“But that is at risk without urgent assistance from the Government.
“We have been told time and time again by the Government that veterinarians are important – but we are yet to see any policies that reflect that position.”
Dr Barker said that in 2022, the gross value of livestock was approximately $35 billion, of which $15.3 billion was from the cattle industry. The HELP Forgiveness Scheme would cost just $4.8 million a year for four years, and wipe the HELP debt of 80 graduates each year.
“We have asked Education Minister Jason Clare to commit to a rural HELP Forgiveness Scheme but he has deferred any decisions on this until 2025,” Dr Barker said.
“That is too late – our regional communities need vets now.
“That’s why we are calling on Senator for Queensland and Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt to take action and ensure Queenslanders can continue to access the essential services provided by vets.”