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Government scholarships to encourage rural vets.



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HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

AFFA02/94WT 14 May 2002

Government scholarships to encourage rural vets

Today’s Federal budget delivers on an election commitment to address the decline in veterinarians working in rural and regional Australia, Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss announced.

“Livestock veterinarians are important in the early detection and prevention of serious disease outbreaks.  The Government has allocated $2 million in this year’s budget that will support initiatives to encourage vets to enter country practice.”  Mr Truss said.

“Over recent years the number of vets practising in regional areas has been in decline,” Mr Truss said.

“Compounding the problem has been the withdrawal of state services - some state governments have cut back the number of veterinarians they employ by as much as 50% in recent years.  The commitment made today will seek to reverse this and I will also seek similar commitments from state governments.”

The Federal Government’s commitment to address our rural veterinary shortage will provide a key plank in this government’s policy to maintain our clean and green image and to protect our livestock industries from disease.

The Government will shortly be initiating a review in conjunction with livestock industries that will explore reasons why more veterinarians are not working in country areas.  The terms of reference for this review will be announced shortly and the recommendations resulting from this review will be implemented with the budget funding.

“In addition to this commitment, the Federal Government will be offering five bonded scholarships per year of $25,000 each to veterinary graduates who are interested in working in the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS),” Mr Truss said.

“AQIS veterinarians hold primary responsibility for the health of our $7 billion dollar meat export industry through both export certification and disease prevention strategies.  Scholarship holders will gain invaluable exposure to the services that AQIS provides to rural industry and will significantly boost AQIS’ capacity in post border work.  Experience in this field can also open pathways into rural practice for many of these veterinarians.”  Mr Truss said.

The details on how to apply for these scholarships are currently being finalised and will be advertised in Australian veterinary schools in the near future.

Further inquiries: Mr Truss's office, Andrew Hall 0419 996 766

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Last updated 14 May 2002

URL: http://www.affa.gov.au/ministers/truss/releases/02/02094wt.html Commonwealth of Australia 2000