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Relevant legislation

All Queensland legislation can be viewed at the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website.

Veterinary Surgeons Act 1936
Veterinary Surgeons Regulation 2002

(A) An Act relating to the qualifications and registration of veterinary surgeons;

(B) and the regulation and control of the practice of veterinary science.

A) The Act and its subordinate legislation lays down the criteria whereby a person can be adjudged to be suitably qualified to practise veterinary science in Queensland. If suitably qualified, the legislation prescribes the procedure whereby the person can be registered in Queensland.

B) The Act provides for the constitution of a Veterinary Surgeons Board and a Veterinary Tribunal which work together to maintain and improve the standard of veterinary practice in the state.

This is achieved through:

(i) ensuring that registered vets are fit and proper persons to practise;
(ii) investigating complaints concerning individual practitioners and disciplining those persons when warranted;
(iii) monitoring and regulating the establishment and standard of veterinary premises;
(iv) ensuring that non-veterinarians are not engaged in the performance of veterinary procedures for fee and reward;
(v) advising the Minister on changes to legislation that are required to meet present day needs.

The Queensland Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries is charged with the administration of the Act.

Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 provides assurances to both domestic and international communities that animals in Queensland are afforded acceptable standards of animal welfare in all types of animal use.

The Act places a duty of care on any person in charge of an animal. ‘Person in charge’ includes the person who has custody of an animal which is extended to veterinarians while an animal is in their care.

The regulation allows veterinarians to undertake surgical procedures on animals in the interest of the animal’s welfare which would otherwise be illegal e.g. docking procedures, debarking and declawing.

There are also provisions dedicated to the use of animals for scientific purposes.

Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996

Queensland registered veterinarians have professional responsibilities under the provisions of the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 in particular in respect to controlled drugs (S8) and restricted drugs (S4).

A person must not be in possession of a controlled or restricted drug without authority.

Veterinarians are authorised, only to the extent necessary to practise veterinary science, to obtain, possess, administer and dispense prescription drugs. ‘To the extent necessary’ is defined by Queensland Health and is included in the publication What Veterinary Surgeons Need to Know developed by Queensland Health and issued by the Board to all registered veterinarians.

The misuse of prescription drugs by authorised persons including veterinarians is a serious offence and prosecution can result in conviction with heavy monetary penalties and loss of veterinary registration.

Radiation Safety Act 1999

The intent of the Radiation Safety Act 1999 is to protect persons from health risks associated with exposure to radiation. There are legislative requirements for veterinarians who possess/use or intend to possess/use equipment for plain film veterinary radiography.

If any person intends to use x-ray equipment, the person must hold a USE LICENCE. Any person owning x-ray equipment must hold a POSSESSION LICENCE.

Possession licensees must ensure that users are appropriately licensed. The employment prospects of veterinarians are greatly enhanced if the person holds a use licence at the time of application for a position.

Chemical Usage (Agricultural and Veterinary) Control Act 1988

This legislation describes the restrictions placed on veterinarians for using, prescribing and supplying a registered, unregistered or compounded veterinary chemical product. (Relevant sections - Part 2 Division 2 section 12-12V).