The VET Expo Sydney – 2020 Australia’s new festival-style event for Vets and Animal Health professionals!

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Claim your FREE ticket to Australia’s new virtual festival-style event for Vets and Animal Health professionals!

Designed to inspire and encourage collaboration and knowledge exchange, The VET Expo is an all in one virtual meeting place to showcase thought leaders and disruptors who promise clinical excellence and operational innovation.

Held over two days on the 28-29 Oct 2020, The VET Expo 2020 unites all leading stakeholders and shares insights from more than 100 leading stakeholders across a series of live presentations and panel discussions. Join in live and visit the virtual exhibition hall or watch the sessions on-demand. Use discount code VSDFREE to claim your free ticket.


There’s never been a better time for Australia’s vets and animal health professionals to come together to share expertise and navigate the challenges and changes we are facing.

Like every industry, animal health is changing – so in conjunction with our partners, we’re bringing you The VET Expo on a virtual platform.

A virtual event that unites all leading stakeholders – vets and veterinary specialists, veterinary nurses, animal technologists and technicians, breeders, livestock farmers, government and innovators.

Over two days, The VET Expo brings you insights from more than 100 leading stakeholders across a series of live presentations and panel discussions. Join in live or watch the sessions on-demand.

Visit: The Vet Expo website

15/04/2020 |

Salary Survey 2016

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Kookaburra Vet Employment Salary Survey

Some of the most common questions that we get asked at Kookaburra Vets relate to Salary levels. We’d appreciate if you would help us collect some up to date information by completing this short anonymous survey, if you are a veterinarian currently working in Australia.

Complete Salary Survey Now

The results will be available on request from Kookaburra Vets, however, if you wish to provide us with your email address at the end of the survey, we will also email you a copy. Thank you for your help.

10/03/2016 |

Vet Nurses Vs Vet Techs – What’s the Difference?

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Vet TechMany veterinary practices in Australia are feeling the pinch of the manpower shortage, putting vets under more pressure and contributing to dissatisfaction with work life balance and mental health problems.

So, maybe you need a Vet Tech at your clinic.

Veterinary Nursing qualification

In Australia, the current Australian national qualification for vet nursing is Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, which takes from 18 months to 2 years to complete. The Diploma in Veterinary Nursing is then an additional qualification following on from the Cert IV, for 12 months, in 3 different streams, General Practice, Surgical, and Emergency & Critical Care

Veterinary Technology qualification

Veterinary Technology is a Bachelor’s degree taking 3 years (full time), which can incorporate and extend the Cert IV in Vet Nursing. It’s offered by Charles Sturt University,   The University of Queensland,  and the University of Adelaide, (and by Massey University in New Zealand, however, this isn’t yet included in the list of Vet Tech degrees eligible for the new Australian Veterinary Nurse and Technician (AVNAT) Registration Scheme)

Information provided by CSU and the University of Queensland about their Veterinary Technology degrees suggest there is more development of skills in critical thinking and problem solving, preparation for supervisory and management roles, as well as knowledge of a wider range of animal species and knowledge and professional skills in animal management, technology and welfare that can be used beyond the clinical setting. However, extended clinical support procedures are also taught. The first cohort from CSU graduated at the end of 2018.

The University of Adelaide degree will commence with its first intake in 2020. Information provided by the University suggests the program will have a strong practical component with students performing almost 500 hours of hands-on clinical experience in a veterinary workplace and in the University’s on-site clinics and diagnostic laboratories, and could equip students with specialist expertise in one or more areas including small animals; anaesthesia; imaging; equine; farming; or practice management.

How could employing a Vet Tech help?

Some clinics, emergency and critical care hospitals, and specialist centres in Australia are already using a very effective tiered system of support staff, from kennel hands and specific customer support staff/receptionists, through trainee veterinary nurses, veterinary nurses, diploma qualified VNs, degree qualified veterinary technicians, and practice managers. This means that Veterinary Surgeons gain the time to do the work that only they are qualified for.

This tiered system can also provide a structured career path for support staff, which can improve job satisfaction. Whilst attention is finally becoming focussed on the challenges for vets surrounding mental health awareness, life balance, burnout, compassion fatigue, job satisfaction, and decisions to quit the profession, we mustn’t forget there are similar challenges for our support staff.

So, rather than trying to employ another Vet in a very tight market, could this be a solution for some clinics?

  1. Employing a Veterinary Technician to help alleviate the heavy workload on vets, allowing vets to manage their Veterinary Surgeon duties more effectively
  2. Which may lead to happier vets and better retention of vets in your practice
  3. And even allow a pay rise for your vets, further contributing to better retention of vets


Charles Sturt University

University of Queensland

University of Adelaide

Massey University

Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia


Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment
updated 30th July 2019

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.

21/05/2019 |

2019 Salary Survey Results – Part 3 – On Call & Salary Extras



1.     On Call / After Hours Payments

In the 2017 Kookaburra Salary Survey, respondents said that they would be interested to know how vets were being paid or compensated for on call work / after hours duties, and for being ‘on call’.

To download this Report as a printable pdf please click here

Out of Hours compensation types

% Professional Fees

69 % of respondents who told us what percentage of professional fees for after hour work they received (127 vets) got 50%. 10% of respondents got 100%. The rest varied from 10% through to 90%. There was a range of how this was calculated – some commented that this was not including GST. Others had a sliding scale depending on the type of service eg.

  • 46% surgery/consult/bandaging, 23% anaesthetics, fluids.
  • 75% consult fee, 100% procedure costs, 0% medications.
  • 100% of professional fee. This includes consult/call out fee and surgery fee.  Does not include radiology, anaesthesia, fluid therapy, hospitalisation.
  • 50 % of exam fee and professional fee only. No other percentage for professional fees- eg xrays fluids etc
  • 50% of professional fees (consult, X-ray, surgery, hospitalisation)

Only one person commented that they didn’t get paid until the client had paid.


Retainer value

The value of a Retainer paid for after hours work varied considerably. Some respondents commented that they ‘lost’ the retainer once they attended a call, if they were receiving additional payment or a % of fees for the call-out. The Award allowance is currently $43.64 for each 24 hour period on call.

Hourly Rate

Some vets received an hourly rate for out of hours work – possibly considering this work as ‘overtime’. The Award does actually now include guidelines for paying overtime, but it’s unclear when these rates should be applied and what the difference between out of hours calls and overtime is. Examples of comments included:

  • 20% loading;
  • 30% loading;
  • 15% loading on base hourly rate for overnight, Friday nights. 1.5x on Saturday and Sunday. 2x on public holidays.
  • Double time
  • ‘same rate even if after hours’
  • Government – ‘ after hours / overtime pays 1.5 -2x normal Rate’

Fee Per Call

12% of respondents received a fee per call-out. This probably varies according to the after hours consultation fee set by the practice.

16 vets gave an indication of the fee they received, and it varied from $50 to $500.

($50 ,  $60 ,  $66 ,  $100 ,  $120 ,  $125 ,  $130 ,  $140 ,  $146 ,  $150 ,  $181 ,  $185 ,  $200 ,  $215 ,  $375 ,  $500 )

Unpaid / Part of Salary

7% of respondents (14 vets) were unpaid for after hours work, or had no additional compensation because it was considered ‘part of their salary’ , ‘expected as part of the job’, ‘reasonable unpaid overtime’. We didn’t collect information about the amount of after hours work performed by these vets.

2.     Salary Package Extras

We asked what kind of extras do vets receive in their salary package – respondents could choose multiple options from a preset list, and could also add their own comments. 452 vets responded.

Salary Package Extras2

There was no statistical difference between the extras received by vets working in corporate practices, and vets working in non-corporate practices, apart from Vehicle or vehicle costs – only 11.54% of respondents working in corporate practices received vehicle benefits compared to 24.07 % of respondents working in non-corporate practices.

When comparing vets classified as Full Time compared to Part Time, vets working in a full time vacancy were more likely to receive Board registration, AVA membership, and Vehicle costs.

Female Vets were more likely to receive Parental leave (11.11%) compared to Male Vets (5.08%)

We asked for extra information, and for information about any other types of benefits received, and this included the following:

  • Some vets receive a monetary allowance per year, to be spent on CE or other appropriate bills, ranging from $1000 to $2000 per year
  • Massage/acupuncture
  • VIN membership – this was commonly mentioned
  • CVE membership
  • AVA interest group memberships (ASAVA, EVA etc )
  • VDA membership
  • VECCS membership (Vet Emergency & Critical Care Society), Vetstream,
  • Beer
  • Christmas bonus
  • Extra Superannuation (above 9.5%) and option for salary sacrifice
  • Mobile phone or phone allowance
  • Extra holiday (in addition to 4 weeks standard leave)
  • Parking discount, Tollway tag
  • Pet Insurance, pet health care plan
  • Clothing allowance
  • Insurances – Income Protection, Professional Indemnity,
  • Radiation License
  • Rostered days off
  • Sponsored Visa

© Copyright Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

2nd September 2019


04/09/2019 |
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