Working as a Locum – Part 2

Comments Off on Working as a Locum – Part 2

This article covers information specific to working in Australia as a locum vet, and is taken from fact sheets produced by Kookaburra Veterinary Employment.

Registration as a Vet

Locum Vet photoYou need to register in each State in which you want to work* (see information below about National Recognition of Registration), and you must be registered prior to your first day of work. The contact details for all the Vet Boards are listed on our website at on the links page. The requirements vary from State to State but basically you’ll need to fill out the forms, pay the fee, provide proof of your ID and degree certificate, and probably provide a letter of good standing from the last place you were registered with. The fee varies a lot, contact the state boards for current pricing. Some States have pro rata registration which is really handy for locums, and WA has temporary registration on a month to month basis (maximum 3 months).

Most vets doing locum work register in just one State to start with until they see where they want to work, and then register as required in others. It doesn’t usually take very long in any of the States (a couple of weeks at most).

Note that in WA you have to present in person at the Board Office in Perth in order to register.

You will get a registration number, and it’s good practice to print the number with your signature when signing any forms in Practice.

*NB: There is currently National Recognition of Registration in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and the ACT – Veterinary surgeons who currently hold primary registration and reside permanently in another Australian state or territory are entitled to practise as a veterinary surgeon in these States on a part-time, casual or locum basis without having to register with the local Veterinary Board. In Northern Territory, secondary registration is now free of charge although vets intending working in the NT should still fill the paperwork out to apply for secondary registration.


Contact your accountant or the ATO for advice regarding the most tax effective way for you to work as a locum.

Casual Employee

You have to fill out a form notifying your TFN (tax file number) to each employer when you start work, and they then deduct tax from your pay. You have to fill out a Tax Return at the end of the Financial year (June 30), and you may get a tax refund.

Your employer should also pay Superannuation (a compulsory pension) for you into a Super fund, of your choice. From 1st Nov 2021 employers are required to check with the ATO whether the employee has a “stapled fund” (ie. their preferred existing fund). Super is currently 10% of salary.


Australian locums have historically worked as self-employed contractors, however, you have to register as a business and get an ABN – Australian Business Number. You must provide this ABN to the clinic before they can pay you as a contractor/self employed locum. The clinic then pays you in full, and you sort out your own tax. You can find more info at You may also have to register for GST. Unless you are a registered company, for normal locum work it’s likely that the clinic should also pay superannuation for you under the Superannuation Guarantee – consult your accountant or contact the ATO for more information. However, even if you supply the clinic with an ABN and an invoice for your work, it is still possible that for both tax and superannuation purposes you should be treated as an employee. You can find more info and an online calculator to assess whether you are an employee or a contractor at–employee-or-contractor/

Pay Rates

Locum rates range from $35 to $80+ an hour (average $55-65/hr) at the moment (November 2021). If you do out of hours work you should get paid an on call allowance for having the phone for each period up to 24 hours, and then get the relevant hourly rate if you do any calls. Some clinics still pay a % of the professional fee for any out of hours calls. Quite a lot of city practices use out of hours emergency centres now so there’s no OOH duties. Minimum employment conditions are set by the Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2020 – you can find copies online by Googling the Award name.

To see 2019 Salary Survey Results compiled by Kookaburra, visit

Professional Indemnity Insurance

The Practice Insurer may cover all vets working at the practice – locums should ask the clinic to check. However, it is a good idea to have your own PI Insurance. If working in South Australia, any vet must be covered by either their own or third party PII arrangements as a requirement of registration – and this also applies to vets practising under interstate registration.

Providers include:

  • Veterinary Defence Association 02 8355 9900
  • Guild Insurance 1800 810213
  • Petplan Professional 0411 265746

Workcover Insurance

Workcover comprises work health and safety and workers compensation laws. Work-related injuries should be covered by the compulsory insurance required for every employer. Contractors may be covered also, depending on their working arrangements.

Other Professional Registration


State legislation requires vets to be licensed in order to use Radiation Equipment. The process varies from State to State – ask the clinic that you are going to be working at. There is now a Mutual Recognition Act that may cover applications for a licence in other States or Territories.


microchip dog photo

Some States have compulsory microchip identification of companion animal cats and dogs, and implanters are required to be licensed in Qld, NSW and Victoria. You may also be required to be licensed to implant microchips in horses.


Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

29/11/2021 |

Working as a Locum – Part 1

Comments Off on Working as a Locum – Part 1

To work as a locum, vets should have a minimum of 2 years’ experience, and preferably over 3 years for sole charge practices. Not only is locuming a great way to finance travel, it is also a good way to gain additional experience working with different people, in a wide variety of different conditions, and improve your veterinary skills.

photo of vetsIn major cities, although there are more clinics in a smaller geographical area, there is usually more competition for locum work, therefore to be assured of a constant supply of work, locums should be willing to travel – and you can miss out on amazing experiences if you don’t consider travelling to work in more rural and regional areas. Country jobs will usually supply accommodation and maybe a vehicle for work and private use, however, city practices very rarely supply either accommodation or a vehicle.

Locum vacancies can range from a single shift to 5 or 6 months’ work, and include full time and part time hours. Locums help cover for temporary staffing shortages, illness, periods of leave and holidays, and parental leave. Jobs can be advertised up to 4 months in advance, however, they can also be listed at very short notice (next day). On average, locum jobs listed with Kookaburra Vet Employment are to start within 1-2 months.


Most clinics require a locum with a minimum of 2-3 years’ experience who doesn’t require direction for most clinical judgments, but who will ask for help if it’s required or if they get out of their depth. Surgical experience is necessary – you must be able to do at least routine surgery including desexings in a timely manner (ie. not take too long).

It can be important to stick to clinic protocols, within a perceived duty of care. Clinics may see a high proportion of particular types of cases – eg ticks; snake bite; poisonings – ask the regular vet before they go away if there is a clinic protocol or for any tips on these type of cases.

Record keeping is extremely important – the locum may move on, but the clinic owner or regular vet then has to continue with ongoing care. Make sure that your handwriting is legible, and you use any computerised system to keep comprehensive clinical notes. Locums should try to fit in with existing staff and not rock the boat!

Make sure that you stick to practice pricing – please don’t undercharge just because you perceive the practice prices to be excessive.

Try not to put things off until the regular vet gets back.


Practices expect a locum to be honest, punctual, friendly, polite, and able to take direction if required without taking offence. Derogatory, sexist, and discriminatory behaviour and comments are absolutely not acceptable.

If a work vehicle, or a vehicle for private use is supplied, it should be kept clean on the inside (if not the outside!), and driven with due care and attention. Establish the protocol for paying for petrol before commencing work.

If accommodation is supplied, it should be left clean and tidy. Talk to the employer about any use of private items or groceries if you are staying in their own house BEFORE you use anything, and establish whether you are expected to replace any items used.

CVs and References:

You should be prepared to send your CV to clinics when you apply for a vacancy. It should contain up to date information and be accurate, particularly with up to date contact information for you including a mobile number preferably with a message bank. Include contact details for recent referees, and email addresses, particularly if your referees are overseas.


article-contract-signingdesigned-by-freepik-smallerAlthough practices and locums may not decide to formally enter into a contract, it is a good idea to set down terms of employment and working conditions in writing prior to the start of the locum period. Things to consider include:

  • Pay rate;
  • after hours remuneration;
  • days off;
  • overtime;
  • normal hours of work;
  • type of payment arrangement and when the vet is to be paid;
  • type of employment (casual employee, contractor);
  • Superannuation; GST;
  • Travel Costs;
  • Professional registration costs;
  • Responsibility for keys – for the clinic and for scheduled drugs
  • Accommodation and responsibilities of the locum with respect to the accommodation and use of facilities if applicable (eg phone, internet, food in the pantry);
  • provision of vehicle for work – and private use – and fuel costs;
  • any provision for short term cancellation of the locum period by either party.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Contact the AVA HR Hotline for more information – 1300 788977 or email  (you need to be an AVA member (Australian Veterinary Association).


Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

03/11/2021 |

Why you need to use an Enzymatic Odour Killer

Comments Off on Why you need to use an Enzymatic Odour Killer

What is an enzyme? Enzymes speed up chemical reactions. Most of them are proteins and can be found within living organisms, inside cells. They can make chemical reactions that would normally take millions of years, occur in just milliseconds.

SAFE4 odour killer, is an enzymatic formula including different enzymes which is ideal for odour removal. Designed for faeces and urine as these are particularly problematic in the animal industry, very hard to remove using conventional odour removers.

Urine is composed of 95% water, other matter such as urea, uric acid, sodium, potassium, creatinine and other waste. Uric acid is the main problem when using a conventional cleaner. Uric acid, being made up of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms isn’t soluble in water. It will biodegrade very slowly into ammonia and carbondioxide. New urine can appear multiple times a day, our enzymatic odour killer speeds up this biodegradation in seconds removing the uric acid and the smell, the same happens with faeces.

Typical enzymes can be categorized into four main groups:

Proteases: break down protein-based soils including blood, urine, food, faeces, wine and other beverages. Lipases: break down fat molecules like oils and grease. Amylases: break down starch molecules like eggs, sugars, sauces, ice cream, gravy. Cellulases: are used to soften fabric and restore colour to fibres made up of cellulose material. They also remove particulate soil and reduce fabric greying and pilling.

Their applications in living organisms have been applied to industries such as the biofuel industry, biological detergents, brewing industry, culinary uses, dairy industry, food processing, molecular biology, paper industry. personal care, starch industry and of course in the animal Biosecurity industry, our own.

Our Safe4 Enzymatic Odour Killer

It is widely used across Zoos in the UK particularly in primate areas as these areas have a significant problem with odour. Why is it so important to use an enzyme odour killer? Well, for those of you familiar with taking care of mammals from cats to primates and many others, they like to mark their territory by spraying urine or dropping faeces and this marking of their territory is an activity that is seen as a challenging behaviour within their species and enclosure.

Other members are likely to contest this behaviour with their own marking of territory. This begins a chain reaction in which fairly soon, what was an odour free living environment for mammals will become a territory marking competition that not only makes for a foul environment for the animals in it but also for the humans taking care of them. If you remove the odour of territory marking right away this stops the chain reaction because other mammals in the enclosure will not be able to identify the smells that irritate them and instinctively make them want to mark their own territory. This is true in kennels, catteries and other types of areas that include mammals.

  • This is why hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and/or baking soda initially appear to be effective at eliminating the problem.

Traditional household or carpet cleaners will ‘deal with’ most the water-soluble components and aspects of pet urine.

But the reality is that the problem was never really solved because the uric acid crystals were never eliminated to begin with! Our odour killer will solve the problem entirely by getting rid of the molecules that cause the smell and it will also leave an after use pleasant cherry fragrance.

Our odour killer is Non-Toxic, Non-Staining, Non-tainting, Non-corrosive, Non-irritant, Biodegradable, Does NOT contain Phenols, Aldehydes or alcohol. All of the above means that you can use it on carpets, all types of flooring, in your garden and on flowers even if you have artificial grass or even artificial flowers.

05/11/2019 |


Comments Off on VSS 2020 CONFERENCE

Networking Australia’s Veterinary Industry

VSS is excited to announce its 5th Annual Veterinary Conference to be held at the Hilton Brisbane from the 13th to the 15th March 2020.

We have put together a world-class program to ensure next year’s conference & workshops are our best yet!

We have assembled a fantastic line up of experts, including our Keynote speakers from the USA and UK. You’ll hear from:

  • Prof. David Church – RVC London
  • Prof. Jill Maddison – RVC London
  • Prof. William Vernau – UC Davis
  • Prof. Bryden Stanley – Michigan State Uni
  • Dr Brian Beale – Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists

Topics that will be covered include: Surgery, Internal Medicine, Clinical Pathology, Cardiology, Radiology, Nursing, Dermatology, Dentistry, Ophthalmology, Physiotherapy, Oncology and more.

Bookings will be opening soon and we’ll release dates for our hands-on workshops – we have some new ones this year to keep an eye out for, as well as popular workshop topics that routinely sell-out.

Veterinary Specialist Services – Presents:

Contact us today for bookings:

Click here for: Priority Bookings

Tel: 1800 442 648

11/10/2019 |
© Vet Suppliers Directory 2019. Vantage Theme – Powered by WordPress.
Skip to toolbar