Working Holidaymaker Changes

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Visa pictureTemporary changes to the Working Holiday Makers Visa conditions may be of benefit to Vets currently working in Australia from overseas – and to their clinics!

From 19 January 2022 to 31 December 2022, the 6 month work limitation has been temporarily relaxed.

Until 31 December 2022, Working Holiday Makers ​no longer need permission from the Department to work for the same employer for more than 6 months.

This allows employers to retain trained staff.

Working Holiday Makers can work in any location, occupation or industry while in Australia. Under Condition 8547, work with any one employer is generally limited to 6 months. From 19 January 2022 to 31 December 2022 the 6 month work limitation has been temporarily relaxed. The Condition 8547 does not apply until after 31 December 2022.

Normally, Working Holiday Makers cannot stay in the same position in the same location with one employer for more than six months by using different employment agencies, business affiliates or sub-contracting arrangements. The 6 months starts from the day they start work. It includes full-time, part-time, casual, shift and voluntary work. It is based on the length of time that has passed since they started working, not how many hours or days worked. However, they do not need to ask (Immigration) permission to work with the same employer for up to 12 months if working in different locations and work in any one location does not exceed 6 months.

For more information visit the Home Affairs website:


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.

08/06/2022 |

Working as a Locum – Part 2

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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

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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 veterinary practices are joining buying groups and ‘What should practices look out for when choosing one?

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If you run an independent veterinary practice, you will have heard about veterinary buying groups. But what are they? and how do they help?IVA

Veterinary practices experience various challenges, particularly in the areas of profitability, staffing and mental health. As pet ownership increases so too do the demands on veterinary practices and their teams and often the rewards for owners and managers can be disproportionate to the effort that is put in. This means independent veterinary practices are having to work even harder to extract satisfaction, value and balance from their roles.


What benefits do veterinary buying groups offer to your practice?

Becoming a member of a veterinary buying group offers a number of important benefits which help your practice survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

A veterinary buying group is an organisation which offers membership to practices. Becoming a member of a buying group offers access to a wide variety of benefits as it provides collective power. This enables practices of all sizes to reduce their overheads, improve their service offerings and meet the challenges of the current landscape head-on.

If we look at the value a buying group provides from a practice perspective the question morphs into ‘Whats best for my practice, my team and myself?’. If you consider the long-term goals of your practice they may be along the lines of:

  • building a great reputation in the community
  • making the management of your practice ‘turn-key’ ie. independent of you as its owner/manager
  • evolving a thriving and profitable practice
  • building value in your practice along with a plan to realise it

Whatever your goal maybe you will find great reward (across your results, financially and intrinsically) in having access to proven business tools, a network of colleagues and a way of enhancing your financial situation without transformational change.



Savings on Costs of Goods
The most effective way to save on cost of goods is to join a buying group that provides the leverage and negotiating power similar to that of a corporate. There is power in numbers – don’t miss a huge advantage. Being a part of a buying group gives you access to preferential pricing on the goods and services you and your team use each and every day. This then frees up the demand on your cash flow and gives you the opportunity to increase your profitability and/or reinvest in your business.

Reducing your Overheads
Veterinary buying groups have the collective power of all their members’ practices behind them. This gives them the ability to forge strong relationships with leading service providers, so membership instantly gives you access to a vast and varied range of support and services.
This collective power then gives buying groups the ability to negotiate advantageous deals. The result is that you pay less for services, enabling you to reduce your overheads.

Proven Practice Strategies
There is great value to be gained from a network of colleagues and a team of industry experts who have a passion for supporting independent practices and have experience in our very situation. Not only can you save time with the ‘been there done that’ experience of a colleague you can also gain greater and faster results when you have access to proven tools and strategies, no more reinventing the wheel.

It saves you time
Becoming a veterinary buying group member helps to save time on a number of tasks involved in running a practice, including:

• Making deals with manufacturers and suppliers
• Staying informed with market insights and trends
• Researching partners and service providers
• Growing your practice in revenue and profitability


What about Membership Fees?
Many buying groups utilise membership fees to fund the support and services they provide to the practices they represent. If you’re interested in joining a buying group, find out how they are funded.



Some purely pay for themselves through membership fees and others get a portion of their money as commission from their partners. Some buying groups use a combination of the two and create other revenue streams. Before you consider a buying group make sure you know how they operate and the benefits you will receive. In many cases obtaining a benefit estimate for your practice from a group will demonstrate that the financial benefits overshadow the fees.

There’s no doubt that there are significant benefits and cost savings you can obtain from joining a buying group. The time spent looking at membership could substantially reduce your practice expenses.

What to look for in a group?
Practices should look for a group that they feel is honest and transparent. There should be an alignment of values between the practice and the group. We believe independent veterinary practices need a group that is focused to their core on offering value to independent veterinary practices which as a result allows them to practice how they wish to practice, stay independent and facilitate a feeling of satisfaction as a practice owner. Ensure you know exactly what’s in it for you financially and collaboratively.


About IVA Membership

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of membership with IVA for your practice please contact our friendly team on:

1300 83 85 83 or:

14/04/2022 |

VetTech Australia – Equipment with qualified & trained professionals in the Veterinary Industry!

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The Brands you know and trust!

VetTech Australia is the EXCLUSIVE Australian distributor for a range of high quality trusted Veterinary brands.

It may be an Eye Lavage Kit from Mila, A double door Stainless Steel Regal Cage from Suburban Surgical, the MS22 Autoclave from W&H, an Otoscope Set from Welch Allyn or VP3 Infusion pump from Mindray – VetTech Australia has it all.

We ensure all our products are going to withstand the busiest of clinics.

Dedicated Service Department

At VetTech Australia we have a team of factory trained technicians that can offer servicing on all your important equipment with minimum downtime.

This includes Anaesthetic Machines, Autoclaves, Vaporisers, Dental Stations, Lights, Patient Monitor and IV pumps.

So empty that clinic cupboard and get your equipment back up and running!

Vaporisers – Is your Vaporiser due for a service?

Did you know that each Vaporiser requires a different service schedule?

Take a look below to see when your Vaporiser is due for service –

Blease and TEC3 – Every 2 years

TEC 4 & TEC 5 – Every year

Don’t get caught over servicing your vaporiser and paying unnecessary maintenance costs.

Our team of factory trained technicians are here to service your Vaporisers and Anaesthetic Machines.

VetTech Australia – Servicing ALL your equipment – No job is too big or small.

Contact us now to book in your next service. Phone:  1300 339 139  


15/07/2020 |
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