Guidelines of the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria
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Guideline 20 - Biosecurity

This guideline outlines the appropriate standard expected of a registered veterinary practitioner in the course of veterinary practice. It should be read in conjunction with other related guidelines.

Context to Guideline 20: Biosecurity

Active management of biosecurity protects the economy, environment and the public’s health from the risk of pests and disease. It is a shared community responsibility to prevent new pests and diseases from establishing in Australia and to help control outbreaks when they do occur.

Although biosecurity is generally thought of as an agricultural issue, managing biosecurity risks is important in all environments where the introduction or transfer of pests and disease could occur.

The National Biosecurity Statement, released in 2018 by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, informs Victorian Government policy in managing state biosecurity risks. It provides an integrated overarching framework describing roles and responsibilities of all parties impacting biosecurity.

A veterinary practitioner plays an important role in protecting Australian agriculture through delivering veterinary services in a manner that limits or eliminates biosecurity risks. This includes adopting practices that minimise the risk of transfer of animal disease through maintaining high standards of hygiene and infection control, whether in a clinic setting or on any alternative site where veterinary services are provided.

A veterinary practitioner should assess biosecurity risks in their delivery of veterinary services and take appropriate measures to minimise those risks. Similarly, a veterinary practitioner should raise concerns with and remedies for biosecurity risks they observe while delivering veterinary services to the owner of the animal, and may also notify the appropriate government authority, based on the level of risk posed.

Professional conduct under this guideline is demonstrated by the following:
20.1 A veterinary practitioner adopts practices that minimise the risk of infectious diseases being introduced or transferred within a single site and/or between sites.
20.2 A veterinary practitioner becomes familiar with the veterinary facility or workplace’s protocols and practices for managing biosecurity risks and complies with these while providing veterinary services.
20.3 A veterinary practitioner satisfies all reporting obligations related to biosecurity matters observed while providing veterinary services. 

Related guidelines

Date of publication
In effect from 1 May 2021.

This material is current only at the time of publication and may be changed from time to time. The Board reviews and updates the Guidelines on a continuous basis to reflect changes in the science and knowledge base underpinning contemporary veterinary practice. The Board will take reasonable steps to inform the veterinary profession when such updates are released but it remains the responsibility of the individual veterinary practitioner to ensure that their knowledge and application of these Guidelines to their own practice is current.

While the Board has made every effort to ensure that the material in these Guidelines is correct in law, it shall not be liable to any veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity in relation to any claim, action or proceeding whatsoever (whether in contract, negligence or other tort or in proceedings seeking any other form of legal or equitable remedy or relief) for any inadequacy, error or mistake, or for any deficiency in the whole or any part of this document (including any updates incorporated in the document from time to time). A veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity acting upon the contents of this document acknowledges and accepts that this is the basis upon which the Board has produced these Guidelines and made them available to such person or entity.