AUSVETPLAN heads to the Territory
20 Sep 2017
The Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSVETPLAN) Technical Review Group (TRG) journeyed to Alice Springs last month to witness one of Australia’s busiest cattle transit sites and also gain an insight into managing livestock during outbreak times in remote areas such as the Northern Territory.
AUSVETPLAN is a suite of documents with instructions on how to manage an emergency animal disease outbreak such as foot-and-mouth disease and each document is reviewed by the TRG. The TRG is made up of representatives from the Australian, state and territory (excluding ACT) governments, the CSIRO and Animal Health Australia.
When developing AUSVETPLAN response plans for EAD’s, understanding the implications and practicability of proposed control measures in the range of contexts across Australia is critical, which was the reason for the TRG to travel to Alice Springs
The journey to Alice Springs, said AHA’s Senior Manager Emergency Response, Dr Belinda Wright, was extremely beneficial to understanding the context within the Northern Territory.
“Seeing the yards and station first-hand was really valuable. It really brought home how different the Northern Territory context is and the challenges that this region brings when managing emergency animal diseases there,”
At the Old Main Plains Research Station, the group learnt of the challenges of managing livestock in such a remote environment and the innovative approaches being trialed.
Dr Wright also highlighted that the field trip made a lasting impression on the group.
“The field trip was a highlight; it prompted discussions among the group throughout the week and was a great way to learn.” Dr Wright said.
During the meeting, dynamic group discussions and diverse input meant that good progress was made on a range of issues; including, guidelines for deciding whether a Response Policy Brief or Disease Strategy Manual is needed, operational preparedness for managing milk/products in the event of an FMD outbreak and review of the scrapie response plan.
“The overall experience including the environment in Alice Springs, the field trip and great interactions with colleagues, made the meeting a true success,” Dr Wright said.
The TRG would like to express their thanks to Noel Cuffe, Manager of the Bohning Cattle Yards (from Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association) and to Peter Saville, Jocelyn Coventry, Chris Materne and Peter Bidgood from the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industries Arid Zone Research Institute for their kind assistance.