Consider a career as an Australian Government Veterinarian

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Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2017


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The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is Australia’s largest employer of veterinarians.

If you are interested in an exciting, challenging and rewarding career, we encourage you to consider the opportunities that the department can offer.

As Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, I am supported by an expert team of veterinarians, scientists and policy makers.

My team’s activities are critical to Australia’s biosecurity system by protecting the health of our animals, people and environment from the problems of animal pests and diseases.

Our work includes:

  • developing national policies and strategies, and providing scientific advice that minimises the potential impacts of diseases on Australia’s animal population
  • supporting and enhancing trade and market access for animals and animal products
  • liaising with public health, environmental and veterinary experts and agencies to advocate cooperation between animal, human and environmental health fields.

Photo of Dr. Mark Schipp

This important work occurs around Australia in offices, airports, mail centres, shipping ports, laboratories and abattoirs, and in various locations overseas.

The department recognises the importance of work/life balance and provides an excellent workplace environment.

I encourage you to visit the jobs section on our website where all of our employment opportunities are listed when they become available. The department's Graduate Development Program offers another entry point into the department with a year-long program including training and development.

You can also read more about the diversity of our work through the veterinarian profiles below.

Dr Mark Schipp
Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer and Delegate to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

Veterinarian Profiles

See the diversity of our work through the experiences of our veterinarians

Photo of Joe, Veterinary Officer

Joe, Veterinary Officer
Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS)

Keeping a Top Watch in Australia’s north

‘As a veterinary officer for the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, I survey domestic and wild animal populations in remote areas of the Northern Territory coast for exotic pests and diseases. I work closely with Indigenous ranger groups, pastoralists, park rangers and the public to educate them about these threats.’

‘My career highlights include securing an understanding with Bradshaw and Yampi Sound military training bases which allows us to survey their land for exotic pests and disease. I’ve made lifelong friends in Papua New Guinea, and have been involved in the set-up of the first Indigenous-run sentinel cattle herd in the Northern Territory, and have trained other Indigenous rangers.’

‘Though we work behind the scenes, our work is very important, especially with trade and maintaining Australia’s freedom of disease status. I’m privileged to be part of the program—the responsibilities that come with it are huge when you really think about it.’

Photo of Murli, Principal Veterinary Officer

Murli, Principal Veterinary Officer
Live Animal Imports

Implementing a better system for horse imports

‘My biggest career achievement has been managing the team which implemented the government’s response to the Equine Influenza Inquiry. This involved changes to virtually every aspect of horse importation to Australia, including implementing new import conditions, inspecting overseas pre-export quarantine facilities and upgrading our own quarantine stations.’

‘Pay and working conditions made moving to ther department very attractive. When I wanted to do some volunteer vet work overseas, the department held a position for me and gave me several months leave without pay. The department has trained me in management, leadership, exotic diseases, emergency disease response, food safety, auditing and more.’

‘It can feel especially hard in private practice to change your career path. Being trained as a vet gives you many skills and once you start looking you’ll probably find you’re suited to all sorts of areas.’

Photo of Sue, On-plant Veterinary Officer

Sue, On-plant Veterinary Officer
Export Meat Abattoir

Protecting food safety and export markets

‘I work as an on-plant vet at an export abattoir. The role involves performing ante-mortem inspection of animals, verifying post-mortem inspection procedures, overseeing animal welfare and checking that all company activities comply with the relevant legislation.’

‘On-plant vets enable certification of Australian meat and meat products for overseas markets. Although the work environment at an export abattoir can be challenging, I enjoy it because it’s a busy and stimulating workplace.’

‘Always keep the department in mind as a career possibility. I live on a 20 acre hobby farm and have chickens, ducks, sheep, two vizsla dogs and a cat. Pay rates, regular hours, and a variety of career opportunities in country locations make it worthwhile.’

Photo of Valeska, Veterinary Officer

Valeska, Veterinary Officer
Australia–Indonesia Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Animal Health Program

Keeping emerging infectious diseases offshore

‘I’m a veterinary officer with the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer and am currently working on the Australia–Indonesia Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Animal Health Program. Through the program, we can really assist Indonesia to combat diseases such as avian influenza and strengthen our bilateral relationships.’

‘I decided to work for the department because I wanted to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of government veterinarians. We did not get much information during university and I had a vague notion that it was all about abattoir inspections. The department's graduate program seemed a good starting point to dispel myths and ignorance.’

‘Always have a go at something different. Change, while challenging and uncertain, will always broaden your mind.’

Last reviewed: 30 August 2021
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