AHC Vetcommunique - November 2014, edition 2014-4

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Animal Health Committee (AHC), November 2014




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Animal Health Committee 26 Face to Face, 1-2 October 2014

Welcome to the Animal Health Committee (AHC) newsletter for animal industry bodies. The aim of the Vetcommunique is to provide a communication link between AHC and industry bodies.

AHC meetings are attended by the Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) of the Commonwealth, States and Territories, and representatives from New Zealand (NZ), Animal Health Australia (AHA), the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), and Animal Division (Department of Agriculture). National industry association representatives and industry representatives from the host jurisdiction also attend an AHC industry session as part of the meeting.

AHC met on 1-2 October  in Adelaide. Dr Rod Andrewartha is the Tasmanian Chief Veterinary Officer and AHC Chair for 2014.

Further information on the structure of AHC can be found on the Department of ​Agriculture website.

Key outcomes from AHC26 face-to-face

Key issues discussed by AHC included:

  • World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) evaluation

AHC and industry representatives received information from a key OIE expert on the OIE PVS process. See OIE website. AHC and industry representatives agreed to seek an OIE PVS evaluation in Australia as well as having a small group trained by OIE for ongoing internal PVS application or participation in overseas assesments.  

  • National Animal Health Surveillance

Industry representatives and AHC members discussed difficulties with progressing national approaches to general surveillance, given the range of disparate activities currently in place and differing jurisdictional and industry perspectives and approaches. AHC supported the recommendation that a pilot activity focused on field surveillance be urgently developed focusing on a specific sector or sectors. 

  • Avian Influenza Risk Mitigation Strategy

AHC discussed a draft AI Risk Mitigation Strategy for high risk farms, including: options in on-farm biosecurity extension and audit; active surveillance; response arrangements; and retailer engagement. AHC will invite poultry industry leaders to participate in a Task Group to discuss the Strategy, with a view to a broader stakeholder workshop in early 2015 which would include retailers and human health authorities. It was agreed that the option of an AHA special funded project may be an appropriate mechanism to take this work forward.

  • Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) Preparedness  

QLD provided an update on their FMD preparedness program and will lead the process for AHC to provide a national progress report on FMD preparedness to the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) by February 2015.

  • Established Pests and Diseases of National Significance

AHC discussed the established (endemic) animal diseases of national significance list based on the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) criteria and the current list of nationally notifiable animal diseases. It was acknowledged that national approaches to endemic diseases management such as for Johne’s disease, bluetongue and anthrax already align with IGAB policy principles as set out by the National Biosecurity Committee. 

  • Coordinated AHC National Animal Health Research Priorities

AHC reviewed a draft document setting out its national animal health research priorities. Further work will involve refinement of the priorities in terms of categorisation, consistent formatting and ensuring all significant areas of current AHC work are represented. AHC’s priorities will input to the AHA-led National Animal Biosecurity Research, Development and Extension Strategy and the Centre for Excellence in Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA) processes. 

  • One Biosecurity

The SA CVO discussed a new proposal aimed at replacing numerous, complex endemic disease control programs with a simple producer-focused farm biosecurity program involving both declared biosecurity star ratings and endemic disease risk classifications. At national level, the next step is more substantive consultation with industry with considered discussions scheduled for the AHA industry forum in March 2015.

  • BJD Review

AHC discussed, with industry representatives, bringing forward the Johne’s Disease review to a workshop scheduled for February 2015. AHC agreed that the suggested benefit-cost analysis suggested may now become focused on evaluating management options moving forward.

  • National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP) Issues

AHC discussed concerns with maintaining continuity and a broad commitment from all parties to NAMP given its importance in supporting Australia’s live export trade.

AHC Key Contacts

Key Contacts

Dr Rod Andrewartha (AHC Chair 2014), Tasmanian CVO, 03 6233 6836

Dr Mark Schipp, Australian CVO, 02 6272 4644

Dr Allison Crook, Queensland CVO, 07 3087 8014

Dr Ian Roth, New South Wales CVO, 02 6391 3577

Dr Charles Milne, Victorian CVO, 03 9217 4114

Dr Malcolm Anderson, Northern Territory CVO, 08 8999 2130

Dr Roger Paskin, South Australian CVO, 08 8207 7970

Dr Michelle Rodan, Western Australian CVO, 08 9368 3309

Dr Wendy Townsend, Australian Capital Territory CVO, 02 6205 3737

Dr Kurt Zuelke, Australian Animal Health Laboratories, 03 5227 5511

Dr Eva-Maria Bernoth, Animal Health Australia, 02 6203 3944

Dr Robyn Martin, Animal Biosecurity, Department of Agriculture, 02 6272 5364

Ms Joanne Nathan, Department of the Environment, 02 6275 9252

Dr John Stratton, Policy Coordinator, Animal Health Committee, 02 6272 5058

Em​ail AHC
AHC website
Mail: GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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