AHC Vet Communique - December 2015, edition 2015-4

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Animal Health Committee (AHC), December 2015




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Animal Health Committee 28 meeting Sydney 11-12 November 2015.

Welcome to the Animal Health Committee (AHC) newsletter, Vetcommuniqué, which provides a communication link between AHC, industry organisations and other stakeholders.

AHC met on 11-12 November 2015 in Sydney. AHC meetings are attended by the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), state and territory CVOs, representatives from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), Australian Government Department of Environment, Animal Health Australia (AHA), Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) and a representative of the New Zealand CVO.

A joint AHC-industry session was attended by AHA Industry Forum executives representing the national industry associations and industry representatives from the host jurisdiction.

The meeting was chaired by Dr Michelle Rodan, the Western Australian Chief Veterinary Officer who is the current AHC Chair.

Key items discussed at AHC 28

National animal health surveillance and diagnostics business plan

Under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB), the animal health sector is required to produce a National Animal Health Surveillance and Diagnostic Strategy and Business (work) plan. A draft Strategy document was endorsed by AHC and submitted to NBC in February 2015. Following this, AHC members and their surveillance managers held a one day workshop in April 2015 to develop a national animal health surveillance and diagnostics business plan. A joint Industry/Government workshop was held in August 2015 to discuss surveillance priorities and actions, governance of a national business plan and to identify lead agencies to take responsibility for each of the proposed activities. AHC agreed on steps to progress the development of a National Animal Health Surveillance and Diagnostics Business Plan.

Update on the review into the National Bovine Johne's Disease Management Plan

AHA was requested by industry and government stakeholders to undertake a review of the National Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD) Management Plan. AHC members have been actively involved in the review process and are generally supportive of less regulation. AHA provided an update to AHC on the outcomes of the review, including the Framework paper which has captured the direction in which AHC wants to move.

Foot-and-mouth disease preparedness activities

FMD remains the single biggest emergency animal disease threat to the red meat, dairy, wool and pig industries (ABARES Report, 2013). The key issues for Australia are to protect against the introduction of FMD and to limit the impact of an FMD outbreak to enable a quick resumption of trade. A number of initiatives relating to FMD preparedness undertaken by Queensland in 2015 were reported to AHC which will aid in prioritising the next steps in bolstering our preparedness to respond to an outbreak of FMD in Australia.

Avian Influenza Risk Mitigation

AHC was provided with an update on an avian influenza (AI) industry-stakeholder workshop held in May 2015 and progress with the development of a new project being undertaken by a number of universities, government agencies and industry to progress AI risk mitigation. The outcomes of this project will inform the next phase of the risk mitigation work supported by AHC.

Established pests and diseases of national significance list

A National Framework for the Management of Established Pests and Diseases of National Significance (the Framework) has been developed under the IGAB. The National Biosecurity Committee has endorsed the framework for the purposes of consultation with industry and community groups. AHC agreed that the Established Animal Pests and Diseases of National Significance will be drawn from National List of Notifiable Animal Diseases in line with the guidelines set out in IGAB.

Review of national list of notifiable animal diseases 

Australia’s list of nationally notifiable animal diseases is aligned with diseases listed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Diseases of public health significance are included as are some endemic diseases for surveillance purposes to detect unusual incidents involving mortality or sickness of animals and. The list is reviewed every two years and AHC agreed to streamline this process.

Key AHC contacts

Dr Michelle Rodan (AHC Chair 2015), Western Australian CVO 08 9368 3342
Dr Mark Schipp, Australian CVO 02 6272 4644
Dr Wendy Townsend, Australian Capital Territory CVO 02 6205 3737
Dr Ian Roth*, New South Wales CVO 02 6391 3577
Dr Malcolm Anderson*, Northern Territory CVO 08 8999 2130
Dr Allison Crook, Queensland CVO 07 3087 8014
Dr Roger Paskin, South Australian CVO 08 8207 7970
Dr Rod Andrewartha, Tasmanian CVO 03 6165 3261
Dr Charles Milne, Victorian CVO 03 9217 4114
Dr Kurt Zuelke, Australian Animal Health Laboratory 03 5227 5511
Dr Robyn Martin, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 02 6272 5364
Dr Peter Dagg, Animal Health Australia 02 6203 3907
Dr Rupert Woods, Wildlife Health Australia 02 9960 6333
Ms Katrina Daniels, Department of the Environment 02 6274 1056

Email: AHC Secretariat

GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601


Further information on AHC can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

* Until 31 December 2015

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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