RE: Item concerning VSBSA in AVA Newsletter, 11 April 2018
I am writing to clarify some aspects of an article that appeared in the Australian Veterinary Association Limited (AVA) newsletter Vet Voice last week concerning notification of the resignation of the Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia (VSBSA) from the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Incorporated (AVBC).
Regrettably, the article contained misleading comments about the ability of the VSBSA to perform its statutory functions if it were to cease being a member of the AVBC. This has resulted in some distress and confusion among registrants. Naturally, I have written to the AVA to express my concerns.
As a regulatory authority, the VSBSA takes its governance responsibilities very seriously. This means allocating its limited resources appropriately to enable it to perform its statutory functions in the most cost-effective manner.
The VSBSA has been a financial member of the AVBC, an association incorporated in Victoria, since its establishment in 1999. The membership subscription fee payable to the AVBC has increased over time and for the 2018 calendar year, the VSBSA contributed approximately $20,000 to the funding of the AVBC. As you are aware from previous communications, the VSBSA does not receive funding from the Government. Therefore, this cost has been met by the VSBSA from income derived from annual registration fees paid by registrants.
The VSBSA has been working with the AVBC for more than twelve months to resolve significant concerns about the AVBC’s governance processes, performance, direction and allocation of resources. That discussion is ongoing and the Chair of the AVBC noted on 12 April 2018 that he looks forward to working together to resolve issues shortly.
Of particular concern to the VSBSA is the lack of progress that the AVBC has made, since it was established 18 years ago, to assist veterinary board members to harmonise veterinary standards within Australia; and the increasing allocation of resources by the AVBC to support international travel, particularly over the past three years.
Providing twelve months’ notice of the VSBSA’s resignation from the AVBC was required by the AVBC’s Constitution. It does not indicate that the VSBSA has lost hope of resolving the matters raised, or that it has lost interest in proactively working to secure a solution.
The VSBSA fully intends to continue its discussions with the AVBC to resolve outstanding matters during the notice of resignation period and will keep registrants up to date with progress in this regard.
In the meantime, the VSBSA has prepared a detailed Q&A document that should help to alleviate any concerns you may have about this matter. A copy of this document is attached and is also available from the VSBSA website.
Should you have any further concerns or wish to discuss or comment on the information provided, I urge you to contact the VSBSA directly via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, the VSBSA will continue its ongoing communication with the AVBC with a view to concluding these matters as quickly as possible in a cooperative manner.
John Strachan AM
Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia