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Veticare Motion Passed!

On Tuesday 2nd August, Andy Meddick MP proposed a motion to Parliament that would be an Australian first if adopted by the Victorian Government - Veticare

GREAT NEWS! The motion passed, demonstrating the support and the need for reform - and importantly, acknowledging the problems that currently exist in the animal health sector. This is a vital step in securing Veticare. But we still need to demonstrate how important it is. It’s not too late to sign our Veticare Petition

Why Victoria needs affordable and professionalised vet care

Pets and wildlife are not getting the care that they need because animal owners and rescuers can’t afford or access the care they require. Despite their willingness, vets are often unable to provide high level care to all animals who pass through their doors - due to a range of reasons, such as staff shortages, resourcing and the financial restraints of owners.

This crisis has been exacerbated by the pandemic, with more Victorians taking on a pet than ever before, coupled with vets choosing to leave the industry and seek out other opportunities. In particular, this has mostly impacted regional and rural areas - with a number of regional centres no longer having access to the veterinary care they need and the closest emergency vet clinic being located in metropolitan Melbourne. 

The mental and physical health benefits of having a pet are widely recognised, yet often the ability to have one is restricted only to those who can afford it. We believe all Victorians should have the opportunity and privilege of the companionship of animals. 

On top of this, there are countless volunteers across Victoria working in both the wildlife rescue and companion animal rescue space. They are often self-funding their work or getting by on donations from the public. We believe their contribution to caring for Victoria’s lost and displaced animals should be recognised, professionalised and supported by the Victorian Government.


  • To improve access, cost, and availability of proper health care for all pets and wildlife.
  • To improve conditions in the veterinary sector, ensuring retention of both vets and nurses.
  • To continue the training and promotion of veterinary nurses to take on complex duties including basic wildlife training, wildlife assessment and drug administration (based on the ‘nurse practitioner’ model in human medicine).
  • To recognise the skills and experience in Victoria’s wildlife and animal rescue sector and help to further professionalise and support their work.



Challenges and Solutions

Funding - Challenges

  • Many vet clinics are corporate owned with expectations from shareholders. This means that vets are often forced to prioritise their paying customers to stay open, which can be at odds with animal welfare. Pro bono work is often at the expense of individual veterinarians.

Funding - Solutions

  • Establish government-funded public veterinary hospitals, similar to the human healthcare system.
  • Implement a bulk-billing model for veterinary care across Victoria - with a priority on concession card holders, pensioners and animal rescuers and carers (both pets and wildlife).
  • Fund places that are proven to work (e.g Healesville Sanctuary or Lort Smith Animal Hospital. Zoos Victoria).
  • Establish dedicated wildlife hospitals in regional areas with wildlife-skilled vets to reduce the burden on other clinics. It is recommended that the first hospital is located on the Great Ocean Road, near to the Surf Coast because there is currently no wildlife vet or speciality service for the entire of Western Victoria.
  • Implementation of a Veticare Card
    • People who have domestic animals pay an annual fee. The Veticare card ensures that Veticare pays the scheduled fee (as with Medicare) and pet owners only pay the gap between Veticare scheduled fee and what the vet charges over it.
    • Public vet clinics are bulk-billed with no over-the-counter fees. 
    • Concession card holders who receive the benefit of Medicare receive parallel benefits for their pets through Veticare.
    • Animal rescuers and carers are provided with a Veticare card but are exempt from an annual fee to recognise the contribution they make towards protecting Victorian animals.


Staffing - Challenges

  • Long-term employee retention challenges for both vets and nurses due to compassion fatigue. The Victorian Government has added vet nursing to free TAFE, which will help attract some to the sector, but more needs to address retention issues.
  • Barriers in prioritising both paying customers and community expectations. Vets have a good Samaritan expectation to accept injured wildlife from the public for free. However, staff and resource shortages and priority to paying clients often results in them being unable to treat wildlife immediately – resulting in prolonged suffering.
  • Rising vet fees to meet shareholder expectations in privately owned veterinary clinics. On top of this, vet wages do not equate to their training (when compared to medical doctors).
  • Difficulty in attracting new vets to the industry in Victoria. There are fewer university enrolments, as well as regulatory and legislative hurdles for vets from overseas being able to practice in Australia. This was exacerbated during 2020-2021 with limitations on travel.

Staffing - Solutions

  • Supply extra training and upskilling for vet nurses to become technicians and nurse practitioners. In human medicine, nurse practitioners and technicians are allowed to do minor surgical procedures. Applying the same principles in the animal health care sector would;
    • Reduce the patient-load burden on vets and surgeons
    • Reduce costs in the industry, enabling more animals to be cared for
    • Increase patients access to needed medical and health care
    • Improve retention of current vet nurses due to more professional responsibility, improved pay, and greater workplace satisfaction.
  • Improve pay and conditions across the veterinary sector to address retention challenges.
  • Implement better mental health support across the veterinary sector to address compassion fatigue and high rates of suicide (in one of the most suicide-prone professions).


Animal Welfare - Challenges

  • The for-profit business model can result in poor animal welfare outcomes due to the need to prioritise paying clients. Vets often have no choice but to euthanise wildlife because wildlife injuries – usually due to guns, poison, fences and cars – are extensive and the cost of rehabilitating them can't be covered. Vets without skills, experience, or training to care for wildlife are often held responsible for wildlife outcomes. When wildlife care is supported by the state, vets will not need to sacrifice wildlife in preference for paying clients.

Animal Welfare - Solutions

  • Establish animal care systems dedicated to wildlife care.
  • Professionalise the wildlife sector to ensure the skills of wildlife carers are recognised by the state, and that care flows through to native animals.
  • Incorporate wildlife care into the new model
  • Recruit vets who are interested in the care and rehabilitation of wildlife. Offer specialised training in wildlife treatment to upskill vets and vet nurses to manage wildlife triage and basic treatment.
  • Establish an veterinary hotline similar to 13SICK in human healthcare. Owners or carers can call and receive right advice, or obtain a script. This would prevent the public turning up at all hours to a small number 24-hour emergency centres which is burdensome on the client, the vet, and the animal.



There are a range of challenges facing the veterinary industry across Victoria. This is ultimately impacting animal welfare, vet retention and adequate care for native animals. Implementation of our proposed solutions will see a more streamlined system, improved affordability and increased job satisfaction for those working in the industry.

The implementation of a Veticare card system would be an Australian-first and would see Victoria continue to lead the way on pet-welfare and support other government initiatives, such as the writing of Victoria’s new Animal Welfare Act, the first ever pet census, banning puppy farms, and implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Rehoming Pets.

Pet ownership across Victoria is at an all-time high - and our proposed model will ensure every Victorian animal gets the care they deserve.



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