The budget released by the Federal Government includes measures that will impact the pet industry including small business owners and veterinarians.

The Government announced it will provide $53 million over five years and $2.5 million ongoing to support the recovery and conservation of koalas and their habitats by extending the National Koala Monitoring Program and supporting additional koala care training places under the national vet and vet nurses training program.

Additional funding for research and implementation activities that address fundamental koala health challenges and on-ground actions that prioritise, restore and protect critical koala habitats, mitigate threats to koala populations, and improve koala health and care facilities will also be provided.

A $547 million commitment towards mental health will hopefully provide some relief to suffering veterinarians and those who work in small business.

The Government has committed $4.6 million over two years to support the New Access for Small Business Owners, which will provide free, accessible, and tailored mental health support to small business owners, and is delivered by Beyond Blue.

Also included in the Budget is $52.3 million over four years for Lifeline to provide mental health support, $42.7 million over two years to extend targeted regional initiatives to prevent suicide across Australia through more coordinated, but locally specific, efforts at the regional level.

Following the recent outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis, the Government will provide $69 million over two years as part of a Japanese Encephalitis Virus National Plan.

Included in the plan is the purchase of 125,000 doses of the Imojev vaccine (Sanofi-Aventis Australia) and 10,000 doses of the JESPECT vaccine (Seqirus), funding for state and territory agriculture departments to undertake surveillance and emergency response programs, and a national communication campaign.

As part of future proofing Australia’s landscapes, animals, and plants, the government will provide $100 million over three years for the Environment Restoration Fund to support community-driven action to protect and restore the environment.

If you are a veterinarian who is experiencing a difficult time, please call the Australian Veterinary Association on 1300 687 327 for confidential telephone counselling.