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

Better biosecurity starts with better cooperation

James Kellaway (AECL), Annette Brown (AHA) and Jef Hammond (NSW DPI) at the National Animal Biosecurity RD&E Forum.

James Kellaway (AECL), Annette Brown (AHA) and Jef Hammond (NSW DPI) at the National Animal Biosecurity RD&E Forum.

Livestock industry, research and government stakeholders from across Australia met in Melbourne on Wednesday, 25 February to discuss Australia’s research, development and extension (RD&E) priorities for animal biosecurity.

Coordinated by Animal Health Australia (AHA), the RD&E Forum was an important first step in the implementation of the National Animal Biosecurity RD&E Strategy, which aims to harmonise the roles of the different sectors working in RD&E related to animal biosecurity.

AHA’s Biosecurity RD&E Coordinator, Annette Brown said the forum was about helping the country’s RD&E funders and providers understand how they can work together more effectively to meet the biosecurity needs of Australia‘s livestock industries.

“A recent desktop exercise showed that there are in excess of 350 animal biosecurity RD&E projects being undertaken across Australia right now, with a total estimated value over $150 million,” Ms Brown said.

“These projects range from research to build understanding of bovine anaemia transmission in cattle, through to social studies investigating horse owner attitudes and Hendra virus.

“By bringing everyone together to hear about who’s doing what in animal biosecurity RD&E, and talking about the real biosecurity challenges facing the livestock industries, we can start to identify where the gaps are and where there might be opportunities to collaborate or co-invest in research programs that can benefit multiple sectors,” Ms Brown said.

The National Animal Biosecurity RD&E Strategy is of one of eight cross-sector strategies under the National Primary Industries RD&E Framework, which is overseen by the Research and Innovation (R&I) Committee – an advisory committee to the Agriculture Senior Officials’ Committee (AGSOC).

“In addition to bringing stakeholders together, the Forum provides an opportunity for animal biosecurity RD&E funders and providers to have ongoing input into the Strategy. We want to encourage two-way communication and build a culture of collaboration so that we can address national biosecurity issues, and strengthen research capabilities that will serve us into the future”, Ms Brown said.

For further information, contact Biosecurity RD&E Coordinator, Annette Brown on 02 6203 3943 or at abrown@animalhealthaustralia.com.au.

The National Animal Biosecurity RD&E Strategy is available on the National Primary Industries RD&E Framework website at: http://www.npirdef.org/

AHA’s March Meeting Week

Animal Health Australia’s (AHA) March Meeting Week from 16 – 20th in Canberra is almost here.

Highlights of the week include training workshops, the Member and Industry forums as well as a Members’ Dinner on Wednesday 18 March at La Osteria restaurant in Kingston.

The Industry Forum on Tuesday 17th March will look at the latest developments on veterinary chemical access and animal welfare, as well as examining the outcomes of previous forums and discussing industry-related topics.

A key focus of the Members’ Forum on Wednesday 18th March will be on finalising the (Draft) AHA 2015–20 Strategic Plan and refining the Draft AHA Annual Operating Plan. An update of AHA’s key activities will also be provided.

A dedicated EADRA Workshop on Thursday 19th March will focus on improvements of the ‘Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement’.

In addition, AHA is offering training for government and industry representatives on the National Management Group (NMG) and Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Disease (CCEAD).  The training will focus on familiarity with the EADRA as the framework for decision making and cost sharing.

The majority of meetings and training will take place at the Eastlakes Football Club, Griffith, in the Duffy Room. Parking is free but limited and is located at the side of the building.


Date Activities* Time
Monday, 16 March 2015 NMG Training 9:30am – 3:30pm
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 Industry Forum Meeting 8:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 Members’ Forum Meeting 10:00am – 4:00pm
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 Members’ Dinner 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Thursday, 19 March 2015 EADRA Workshop 9:00am – 5:00pm
Friday, 20 March 2015 CCEAD Training 9:30am – 3:30pm

*Includes morning tea and lunch (All meals are catered for and provided by AHA).


Please contact the relevant people below if you have any questions about:

Event organisation:

Kristy Piper, Event Coordinator

T: 02 6203 3931

E: events@animalhealthaustralia.com.au

Working hours: Monday and Friday: 9.30am – 2.30pm Thursday  9.30am – 5.00pm

CCEAD and NMG Training:

Jude Nettleingham, Learning and Development Coordinator

T: 02 6203 3930

E: jnettleingham@animalhealthaustralia.com.au

Members’ Forum:

Liz Anderson

T: 02 6203 3901


Industry Forum:

Tara McDonough

T: 02 6203 3921

E: tmcdonough@animalhealthaustralia.com.au

EADRA Workshop:

Brendan Pollard, Veterinary Officer

T: 02 6203 3912

E: bpollard@animalhealthaustralia.com.au

World-class technology launched in fight against biosecurity risks

The new system reduces many time consuming manual processes.

The new system reduces many time consuming manual processes.

A state-of-the-art Biosecurity Information Management System (BIS) worth over $9.8m has been launched as part of the NSW Government Agriculture Industry Action Plan.

The cloud-based system gives the department greater capacity to report, diagnose and manage emergency events and was deployed in the field for the first time in a recent response to the red imported fire ant detection in Sydney.

It was developed to enhance the State’s capacity to deal with biosecurity threats and emergencies. It geospatially tracks surveillance teams, minimises duplication and data entry time, and has been particularly valuable for mapping the extensive surveillance carried out following the red fire ant detection.

The new tool allows surveillance teams to log in to the system and submit crucial, real-time data, including photos, so staff in labs and control centres can be continually informed updated on the response and deploy additional resources where required.

Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said the system has exceeded expectations and while it is being used successfully in daily operations by the Department of Primary Industries, its full potential and benefits are realised during an emergency response.

NSW Department of Primary Industries has released a video showcasing the new biosecurity system.

The benefits of a healthier workplace

AHA features in the Healthier Work book of case studies.

AHA features in the Healthier Work book of case studies.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) has been featured in WorkSafe ACT’s Healthier Work book of case studies highlighting Canberra businesses who have become Healthier Work Recognised.

The publication was launched by Minister Mick Gentleman MLA at a Healthier Work networking breakfast attended by AHA staff and members of Canberra’s business community on Thursday 12 February.

AHA, in collaboration with Healthier Work, developed a 12-month health and wellbeing plan for staff and AHA has been formally recognised for putting these ideas into practice.

Initiatives AHA has introduced for staff include weekly lunchtime walks and flexible hours to enable staff to go to the gym or yoga classes to promote physical activity during the work day.

To address mental health and wellbeing, staff created ‘Soup-er Tuesday’, a spin-off on the ‘Bake your Blues Away’ initiative that highlights depression and anxiety.

In July 2014, members of staff brought homemade soup and literally broke bread together to discuss issues including mental health. The event was well attended by staff, including members of the AHA Board and has become an inaugural event.

Read more about AHA’s activities in Healthier Work’s book of case studies 2014-15.

Following the launch of the book, there was also a panel discussion about the business benefits of a healthy workplace featuring Work Safe Commissioner Mark McCabe, Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly, Chris Faulks from the Canberra Business Chamber and Jason Heddle, Healthier Work Champion at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

All panellists agreed that creating a healthier place to work is good for business. Not only are employees more resilient but according to studies from the US, they also have more productive work hours in a month, averaging 143 productive hours compared with just 49 hours a month from a less healthy staff member.

For more information about Healthier Work visit www.healthierwork.act.gov.au or find them on Facebook at Healthier Work ACT.

Forum kick-starts new way forward for BJD

AHA_CTL_036More than 100 people from around Australia participated in a forum last month to discuss the future of Bovine Johne’s disease (BJD) management in Australia, as part of the National BJD Review, which is being coordinated by Animal Health Australia (AHA).

The forum is just the beginning of the consultation process which is integral to the development of the National BJD Strategic Plan, due to be implemented by January 2016.

AHA’s Executive Manager, Biosecurity Services, Duncan Rowland said participants in the forum identified some key themes and concerns that will greatly contribute to developing fresh ideas for the management of BJD at the herd, state and federal levels.

“Throughout the course of the day, certain themes and concerns were identified that the participants believed needed to be addressed. This is great, because this is the useful information we need to start the ball rolling with this process,” Mr Rowland explained.

“The key issues identified included: freeing up trade related issues, managing the disease on farm including developing pathways for those affected, and suggestions for future research and development to provide producers with better tools to deal with JD in their stock,” he said.

The one‐day forum was hosted in Sydney and was the first of four opportunities stakeholders, at all levels in the livestock production industry, will have to contribute to the development of the Strategic Plan.

AHA’s Chair, Peter Milne, praised the participants for their constructive and invaluable input on the day, highlighting that as BJD is a contentious and difficult subject, productive and meaningful debate was vital to the ongoing success of Australia’s beef and dairy industries.

“I would like to thank the participants for their contributions on the day and to those people who provided written submissions in the lead up to the event. Thanks to the information we have received we can start putting the bones around a plan for the way forward.

“The next step is for the Reference Panel, which comprises industry, government, and veterinary representatives, to collate the information and feed it into the next stage of development,” Mr Milne said.

The National BJD Strategic Plan is a cooperative program involving Australian livestock industries, government and the veterinary profession that helps the beef and dairy industries reduce the spread and impact of bovine Johne’s disease in Australia.

Currently it’s key goals are to help minimise the contamination of farms and farm products, support the protection of non‐infected herds while minimising disruption to trade and to help reduce the social, economic and trade impact of BJD at herd, regional and national levels.