AHA farewells Mike Willoughby after 15 years of service

IMG_2282Last month Animal Health Australia (AHA) staff and Members bid Mr Mike Willoughby a fond farewell as he left the company for new adventures after 15 years of service.

Mike was farewelled at the AHA Member Dinner on Wednesday 18 March by Members and AHA Chairman Peter Milne, and by all staff at a special lunch function on his last day at AHA.

As AHA’s Company Secretary, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Manager Corporate and Member Services, Mike served under five CEO’s and numerous Directors.

During his tenure he attended and took records for over 130 Board meetings and supported numerous staff as they explored some of the financial intricacies of AHA across the company’s 60 odd projects and programs.

Mike is known for his even and helpful disposition with the most trying or menial enquiries.  He will be missed and AHA staff wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

In numerous farewell speeches given by Members and staff some of whom had the pleasure of working with Mike for over 10 years, he was warmly thanked by AHA staff and Members who fondly reminisced about his daily routines.

Introducing Tony Marks

Mr Tony Marks

Mr Tony Marks

Mr Tony Marks has stepped into the role of Company Secretary and Executive Manager of Corporate Services. Tony has extensive senior executive experience in financial and general management gained in publicly listed companies and federal and state government agencies in utilities, housing and construction, research, science and resource sectors.

Tony holds postgraduate qualifications in accounting and applied finance and is a fellow of CPA Australia and the Financial Services Institute of Australia and a Chartered Tax Adviser.  Tony is a Councillor and past President of the ACT Division of CPA Australia.

Members were able to meet Tony at the Members’ and Industry Forums which he attended in his first week with AHA.


Producers not sheepish about good feedback following lamb tour

Photo: Bernadette Fanning.

Photo: Bernadette Fanning.

The National Sheep Health Monitoring (NSHM) project coordinated by Animal Health Australia (AHA) has recently assisted in conducting a feedback day for over 35 lamb producers at Manildra Meats at Cootamundra.

AHA’s Manager Endemic Diseases, Dr Lorna Citer, said data is gathered as part of the NSHM project and provides a detailed understanding of the prevalence of sheep diseases and conditions.

“This information is important in not only providing the State Government Departments of Primary Industries with vital intelligence but also providing importing countries with evidence that we are rigorously monitoring and managing the health of the national flock,” Dr Citer explained.

The day started with a tour of the plant, the new slaughter floor, the boning room and stock yards.

Following the tour, producers had a presentation on the prevalence of sheep conditions and diseases in local government areas.

Government representatives and staff from global animal health company ZOETIS gave producers a run down on what products and services are available to reduce the occurrence of these diseases and conditions in their flocks.

The day finished with Ian McColl from the Sheepmeat Council of Australia leading a discussion on the major issues facing the industry and initiatives the SCA has put it place to tackle these challenges.

Clive Richardson from the National Meat Industry Training Council said the NSHM project was breaking new ground and by providing flock health data to producers was making a valuable contribution to improving the profitability of both the processors and producers.

There are two further pilot feedback days to be held in Victoria in the coming month.

For more information about upcoming workshops, please contact James Corcoran at MINTRAC on (02) 9819 6699.

NSHM project in the news

The Land newspaper recently published a story on the National Sheep Health Monitoring project now providing information on diseases and conditions detected on the slaughter floor which is expected to lift sheep health and profits.

Read the full story published in The Land here.

March a momentous month for AHA

MemberForum_March_2015‘Building Animal Health Australia (AHA) for the future’ was a key theme of last month’s Members’ forum held on 18th March in Canberra, as CEO Ms Kathleen Plowman outlined the shape of things to come for the organisation.

“In this tough economic environment, we need stronger partnerships more than ever.

The AHA model is built around working together to achieve more,” Ms Plowman explained to AHA’s government and industry Members attending the Forum.

“During the consultation on the development of the next five year strategic plan for AHA, Members reaffirmed that what AHA does is critically important, but they were also clear that ‘how’ we deliver these needs to change to better reflect the requirements of, and add value to, our Members.

“Members are looking to AHA to deliver organisational and service innovation and excellence to strengthen and enhance partnerships, including the quality of these relationships and to ensure maximum leverage of these arrangements.  The next three years will see AHA go through a renovation and ‘upgrade”. First off we will focus improving our systems, structures and processes to deliver greater operational efficiency, build sustainable funding through alternative income sources and enhance our people, their capability and skills.

At the Forum, Members were also given an update of key issues and activities, and were provided with an opportunity to provide further feedback on both the next five year Strategic Plan before its finalisation and the draft Annual Operating Plan (AOP) 2015-16.

With some minor improvements suggested, Members were supportive of the Strategic Plan 2015-2020, and gave in principle support for the AOP 2015-16 subscription levels and draft AOP 2015-16. Formal endorsement of the draft AOP will be sought from Members at the June 2015 General Meeting.

AHA conducts at least two Members’ Forums every year. The next Member Forum will be held on 10 September in Melbourne.

For more information on AHA programs and projects visit the AHA website.

Improved Hendra virus vaccine information

HendraInformation about the Hendra virus vaccine and the current permit arrangements for the vaccine is now available on the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) website. 

As well as containing information about the vaccine itself and conditions of the permit, the website outlines side effects of the vaccine and provides guidance on how to report an adverse reaction.

APVMA wanted to improve the information available to horse owners and veterinarians about the Hendra virus vaccine and welcomes feedback in order to further develop this resource.

Contact APVMA

Phone: +61 2 6210 4701

Email: enquiries@apvma.gov.au

Website: http://apvma.gov.au

A postcard from Bhutan – AHA spreads the biosecurity message

AHA's Dr Ian Langstaff (left) meets with officials during his placement in Bhutan.

AHA’s Dr Ian Langstaff (left) meets with officials during his placement in Bhutan.

After 12 months volunteering his biosecurity expertise to support the development of the Kingdom of Bhutan, Animal Health Australia’s (AHA) surveillance program manager since 2007, Dr Ian Langstaff, recently returned to Australia.

Dr Langstaff was recruited into the Australian Government volunteer program, Australian Volunteers for International Development, as a biosecurity advisor for the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA).

Tasked with translating biosecurity policy and legislation into action, Dr Langstaff reviewed biosecurity procedures and practices at the national and district levels, through to household and small commercial farms.

He worked closely with regulatory officers and extension officers, travelling widely to discuss and trial innovations being explored for BAFRA. In addition to providing strategic recommendations for improving biosecurity, Dr Langstaff delivered a biosecurity risk-based online movement permit system, wrote a field guide for practicing good on-farm biosecurity and developed biosecurity notice boards for use at movement control points and for the farm/household gate.

Dr Langstaff’s work in Bhutan has helped to has helped to further support the Bhutanese biosecurity system.

“The experience was tremendously rewarding both professionally and personally.  Initially I worked hard to build a network of relationships and develop a good understanding of the biosecurity system,” Dr Langstaff said,

“I was very conscious of ensuring a strategy for improving biosecurity was realistic, technically sound and would fit well into the sociocultural context. I was also very mindful of monitoring BAFRA engagement and commitment over the year to ensure the project was fitting well for BAFRA’s needs and to plan for sustainability beyond the project conclusion.

“Fortunately two of my veterinary counterparts in BAFRA had trained in Australia or New Zealand and so we had a good base and common understanding to work from. I was delighted that the results were very well received and I look forward to hearing word on outcomes from BAFRA.

“The Bhutanese are a worldly people and have a tremendous commitment to their family and Buddhist values. We all felt very privileged to live there,” he added.

Dr Langstaff also had the privilege of meeting the Bhutanese King. Over the 12 months Dr Langstaff lived in the capital Thimphu with his wife and two young boys; two and four.

About the Kingdom of Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small landlocked country nestled in the Himalaya between Tibet (Peoples Republic of China) to the north and India to the south, west and east. It has a land area less than half of one percent of China and little more than one per cent of India. The landscape ranges from subtropical plains to glaciated mountains and retains 65 per cent forest cover. Over 80 per cent of Bhutan’s population of around 700, 000 people are subsistence farmers.  The main livestock comprises dairy cattle, laying hens and broiler poultry.

Three quarters of Bhutanese are Buddhist and the remaining quarter are mostly Hindu.  Bhutan is famous for initiating and applying the concept of Gross National Happiness as a holistic and sustainable approach to development.

AHA announcement to Members

Animal Health Australia (AHA) and Plant Health Australia (PHA) today issued a letter to Members advising them that the co-location of the two organisations will not proceed.

AHA would like to reassure Members that both PHA and AHA remain strongly committed to the continued strengthening and enhancing of our strategic relationships and collaboration across a range of areas. Both organisations, individually and jointly, will continue to work to deliver services through programs and initiatives which benefit our members and the animal and plant health systems.

Read the letter to Members in full.

Wild dog website launched

WilddogwebsiteAustralian livestock producers can now instantly access information about The National Wild Dog Action Plan with the launch of a new website.

The National Wild Dog Action Plan website provides updates about the Plan’s progress, key messages and case studies, as well as back issues of media releases and communiqués.

The website is part of the broader Invasive Animals CRC PestSmart Connect portal which provides information about invasive vertebrate pests in Australia; their biology, ecology, impacts and best practice management.

The National Wild Dog Action Plan was established to deliver and support safe, humane and effective wild dog management activities that are financially and environmentally viable.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) played an integral role in coordinating technical input on disease risks and collaborating with industry and government to develop the Plan.

Feedback welcome

The websites are ‘works in progress’ with more information to be added. Producers and other stakeholders are encouraged to have a look and provide suggestions to the Invasive Animals CRC. Please email Michelle Jackson, Action Plan Implementation Manager at mjackson@allevents.com.au.

CCA welcomes senate inquiry into red meat processing

AHA_IMP_010Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) has welcomed yesterday’s decision for the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee to conduct an inquiry into the effects of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector.

“During the recent Senate Inquiry into the grassfed beef levy, the Senate heard significant evidence from beef producers about the negative effect of reduced competition on farm gate prices for beef producers,” CCA President Howard Smith said.

“It is appropriate now for the Senate to investigate this evidence further under a new inquiry which has the proper terms of reference.”

CCA recently expressed concern to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the JBS Swift purchase of Primo and has received strong representation from NSW Farmers and Victorian Farmers Federation who have been calling for this inquiry.

“It is pleasing that this inquiry is focused on how consolidation in the processing sector affects farm gate returns. We look forward to bringing the concerns of producers to the Senate so solutions and reforms can be implemented which will ensure all parts of the supply chain are profitable,” Mr Smith said.

In addition to the issues covered by the terms of reference such as misuse of market power, buyer collusion, consolidation, regional monopolies, selling structures, and the regulatory environment CCA will also raise measures to encourage new entrants and foreign investment, incentives for producer owned abattoirs and stronger checks on foreign company price transferring.

The inquiry has been given a deadline of 12 August.

Animal Welfare Officer Training – registrations closing soon

Quote AHA and get the early bird rate - register now!

Quote AHA and get the early bird rate – register now!

The Australian Lot Feeders’ Association Inc. (ALFA) – a member of Animal Health Australia – and Meat & Livestock Australia have engaged presenters Matt George (Bovine Dynamics) and Tony Batterham (QFS) to conduct Animal Welfare Officer Training for lot feeders across the country.

The course comprises a one and a half day training program aimed at providing feedlot managers, supervisors, training managers and quality assurance officers with the necessary knowledge and skills for the management, assessment and auditing of animal welfare within a feedlot operation.

Upon successful completion of post course work assessments, participants will be issued with a Statement of Attainment for the Animal Welfare Officer Skills Set in the following units:

  • MTMP2010A Apply animal welfare and handling requirements
  • MTMP414A Oversee humane handling of animals

This course will be run as a combination of off-site classroom and on-site (feedlot) practical work based assignments followed by a post course assessment process.

Training dates and locations (subject to change):

  • TINTINARA, SA – March 16 & 17
  • TOOWOOMBA, QLD – March 24 & 25
  • COMET, QLD – March 26 & 27
  • WAGGA WAGGA, NSW – March 30 & 31
  • MOAMA, NSW/VIC – April 9 & 10
  • TAMWORTH, NSW – April 13 & 14
  • CUNDERDIN, WA – April 16 & 16

For more information visit ALFA’s event page or phone 02 9290 3700.

Register your expression of interest here. Quote ‘Animal Health Australia’ and get the early bird rate.

Animal Health Surveillance Quarterly is going digital – and full colour!

AHSQ will soon be only available electronically.

AHSQ will soon be only available electronically.

Responding to increased demand for electronic versions of Animal Health Australia’s (AHA) AHSQ, a growing number of subscribers will now have the opportunity to enjoy the newsletter delivered straight to their inboxes – in full colour!

Sporting a revamped and easier to read design, AHSQ will continue to cover investigations of disease incidents, monitoring and surveillance activities from the states and territories.

Subscribers are being urged to update or provide their email address so they don’t miss out on receiving the new electronic versions of AHSQ. Email your details to AHSQ@animalhealthaustralia.com.au

The final print (hardcopy) issue of AHSQ, Volume 19 Quarter 3 (July-September 2014), will be hitting mailboxes in the next few weeks.

For subscribers who prefer to read the publication in hardcopy, each issue of the newsletter will be available for downloading and print from the AHA website.

AHA publishes AHSQ to provide disease reporting that is transparent, honest and timely as part of its National Animal Health Information System (NAHIS) program.

The NAHIS program provides accurate summary information on Australia’s animal health status to support trade in animal commodities and meet Australia’s international reporting obligations. It also provides information on Australia’s capabilities and activities with regard to animal disease surveillance and control.

Find out more about NAHIS at http://nahis.animalhealthaustralia.com.au/

To access archived versions of AHSQ visit http://www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au/elibrary or email AHSQ@animalhealthaustralia.com.au for complete PDFs.

For more information contact Kim Wearn, Surveillance Information Coordinator, on 6203 3928 or email kwearn@animalhealthaustralia.com.au