Transport Canberra and City Services

Introduction of the Veterinary Practice Act 2018 (the Act) what do the changes mean for you?

The Act commences on 21 December 2018 and can be accessed at the following link:

One of the changes you may notice is the change of reference from 'veterinary surgeon' to 'veterinary practitioner'. This extends to the governing body which will be named the ACT Veterinary Practitioners Board (the Board).

New Forms

The Board Secretariat is currently drafting new forms for use under the Act which will be published on the website.

National Recognition of Veterinary Registration (NRVR)

The Act will allow for the introduction of NRVR in the ACT. This means that registration is based on your primary residence and veterinarians who are registered in another jurisdiction in Australia will be able to practise in the ACT as deemed registrants.

For example, a veterinary practitioner whose primary place of residence is in NSW but commutes to the ACT to practise and holds a current registration in NSW will have deemed registration when working in the ACT.

If you are considering moving, you must apply for registration with the Board within three months of the ACT becoming your primary place of residence.

NRVR does not come into place until commencement of the Act on 21 December 2018. If you intend to begin work in the Act prior to that you need to apply for registration in the ACT. Please visit the Registration page for more information on how to do this.

Veterinary Practitioner registrations

All veterinary practitioners that are registered under the repealed Act will be recognised as registered under the new Act. Registrations will require annual renewals by 30 June.

Veterinary Premises Registrations

Under Section 72 of the Act, all veterinary premises in the ACT must be approved for use by the Board.

Any veterinary premises to be used for the provision of veterinary services must be registered. Types of veterinary premises that must apply for registration are:

  • Mobile veterinary clinic - means a vehicle, including a trailer, that may be moved from one location to another, and is modified to operate as a veterinary clinic;
  • Mobile veterinary hospital - means a vehicle, including a trailer, that may be moved from one location to another, and is modified to operate as a veterinary hospital;
  • Veterinary clinic - means premises where a restricted act of veterinary science, including major veterinary surgery, may be carried out;

Veterinary consulting room - means premises where a restricted act of veterinary science (other than major veterinary surgery or emergency care) may be carried out;

  • Veterinary hospital - means premises where a restricted act of veterinary science, including major veterinary surgery and emergency care, may be carried out, and a higher level of diagnostic facilities than are available at a veterinary clinic is provided.

Commencing in the 2019-20 financial year, all applications must be accompanied by the Board’s fee (fee determination to be confirmed) and must grant permission for a member or an officer of the Board to carry out inspections of the premises for the purposes of determining registration.

The registration period is from 1 July to 30 June. Premises registrations must be renewed annually with inspections required every four years. The applicant will be advised in writing prior to an inspection taking place. If a Board inspection of the premises is required in the approval process, the applicant will be advised in writing.

All premises accredited under the current ASAVA (or its successor) ‘Manual of Hospital Standards’, will be deemed to have met the Board’s premises requirements.

The information contained within the Premises Standards sets out the criteria that will be used to assess a veterinary premises during an inspection and can be used as a self-assessment tool.

A detailed floor plan is required to be submitted as part of the application.

Veterinary premises registration holders must appoint a superintendent as part of the application process. A superintendent must:

  • be a registered veterinarian;
  • assume the responsibility to maintain the premises in compliance with the veterinary premises standard; and
  • be the main contact in relation to the premises.

It is important to note that Section 85 of the Act specifies that a veterinary practitioner commits an offence under the Act if they conduct work at an unregistered premises.

Provisional Premises Registration

The formal premises registration process, along with fees and premises inspections, will not commence until the 2019‑2020 financial year. However, premises registrations are not covered under transitional arrangements when the Act comes into effect.

To avoid a breach upon commencement of the Act all veterinary premises are required to apply for provisional registration up until 30 June 2019.

All registered premises should have received a notification regarding this process. See more about provisional premises registration.


Complaints made under the repealed Act will transition to be a complaint under the new Act.

The complaints process mimics the approach of the NSW Board. Under the Act, the Board can issue a fine up to $1000 and impose an immediate suspension or conditions on registration.

The complaints process:

  • Joint consideration of complaint with Human Rights Commission (HRC). This step is unique to the ACT and HRC ensures the Board is following human rights principles.
  • Right of response of the subject of complaint; Section 50(e).
  • Complaint assessed by the Board, often with outside analysis by a non-allied veterinarian or a specialist in the area of complaint.
  • Further information requested (if required).
  • The Board can, under Part 8 of the Act, inspect veterinary premises with a warrant if deemed urgent or there are special circumstances.
  • Board decision: immediate suspension/condition, warning, fine, ACAT occupational discipline order or suspension, recommendations, or dismissal of complaint.
  • Right of Appeal – decisions by the Board in regards to complaints can be appealed. Schedule 1 of Act outlines appeals.
  • The Board must follow principles of natural justice and procedural fairness to ensure practitioners rights to reputation and privacy.

Complaints Process Map

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

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