Expand links In this section

Australian Chief Veterinary Officer (ACVO)

​Who we are

The Office of the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer (ACVO) is led by Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp.

The ACVO is the primary representative of, and advisor to, the Australian Government on all matters relating to the maintenance and improvement of Australia’s animal health status and the systems that support it. The ACVO also works to address major issues of national interest, including animal welfare and the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The ACVO is supported by teams of scientists and policy makers who work to mitigate the risks and potential impacts of exotic animal diseases and enhance the protection of Australia’s animal health environment.

What we do

The overarching objective of the ACVO is to mitigate threats to the Australian economy, and the productivity of Australia’s animal-dependent industries, by supporting and enhancing trade and market access for animals and animal products, and representing the Australian Government on animal health issues of national interest.

This involves:

  1. Determining, maintaining and improving Australia’s animal health status through:
    1. leading the delivery of national animal health policy and programs that underpin Australia’s claims relating to animal health status
    2. providing high-level technical analysis and advice that forms the robust scientific basis for Australia’s animal health status claims
    3. strengthening Australia’s animal disease prevention, preparedness and response capabilities.
  2. Providing the national and international focal point for matters relating to Australia’s animal health status and systems, including:
    1. providing the official declaration of Australia’s animal health status
    2. representing of Australia’s animal health status to the international community
    3. providing definitive advice to Australian stakeholders (including Australia’s certification authorities) on Australia’s animal health status, including for export and quarantine purposes
    4. influencing the global animal health agenda in accordance with Australia’s national biosecurity and trade objectives
    5. representing Australia’s interests in the development of domestic and international standards for animal health
    6. fulfilling Australia’s international obligations with regard to disease reporting
    7. providing national leadership and strategic direction on national animal health policy issues and working collaboratively with Australian Government, state and territory agencies, industries, and other stakeholders on animal health issues of national significance
    8. contributing to the development of policies and practices in accordance with the One Health approach, thereby enhancing the health of humans, animals and the environment.
  3. Representing the Australian Government on animal issues of national interest including animal welfare and anti-microbial resistance.
  4. Minimising the potential for economic losses through the disruption of trade due to an emergency animal disease outbreak through:
    1. effectively leading and managing responses to emergency and re/emerging diseases
    2. identifying and analysing potential threats to animal health—including those influenced by environmental change and wildlife—to inform organisational policy and program development
    3. providing scientific and policy enhancement of Australia’s animal disease prevention, preparedness and response capabilities.
  5. Minimising the risks of an emergency animal disease incursion by addressing risks off-shore through:
    1. strengthening Australia’s intelligence gathering and analysis capability, including the ability to scan the horizon for new and emerging threats to Australia’s animal health status
    2. leading the delivery of targeted capacity building projects to assist countries in the region (especially near-neighbours) to manage animal diseases at source, thereby reducing the risk to Australian animal health
    3. maintaining active collaboration and building strategic relationships with countries in the region.

About Dr Mark Schipp

In 2011 Dr  Schipp was appointed Chief Veterinary Officer of Australia.

As Chief Veterinary Officer he represents Australia at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) where he is also an elected member of the OIE Council.

Dr Schipp leads Australia’s national responses to emergency animal disease incursions. He works to strengthen the veterinary services of countries in our region so they are able to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases of concern to both human and animal health. He has been active in leading Australian agriculture’s response to the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Dr Schipp studied both Biology and Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at Murdoch University, graduating in 1989. Since then he has been working to protect Australia from exotic disease incursions and seeking opportunities to expand market access for our livestock and animal products.

After graduation Dr Schipp  joined the Western Australia Department of Agriculture as a District Veterinary Officer where he advised farmers on livestock health and production, delivered field days, and boarded livestock vessels at sea to ensure they were clean before loading for live export.

He then worked in export abattoirs in Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania ensuring livestock presented for slaughter were healthy and the livestock products were suitable for export. Eventually he moved to Canberra to contribute to Australia’s export meat program at a national level.

Dr Schipp was posted overseas for six years—in Seoul, South Korea and then in Beijing, China where he opened the Agriculture Counsellor post at the Australian Embassy, Beijing and negotiated new market access for Australian agricultural products

Dr Mark Schipp explains his role

Download the video as an MP4 MP4 [5.0 MB]

Download the audio of the video MP3 [2.3 MB]

Transcript of Schipp's video

The Chief Veterinary Officer of Australia represents Australia nationally and internationally on veterinary issues, animal health, animal biosecurity, so I’m the delegate for Australia to the World Organisation for Animal Health and I’m also fortunate enough to sit on the council of the World Organisation so I represent our region as well as our country.

Nationally I represent the department and the national position on animal health and veterinary issues. In the event of an emergency disease outbreak I chair the consultative committee on emergency animal diseases which brings together all of the state positions and the national position. We try and find a common position and bring that forward for decision and implementation.

I deal with the universities, the veterinary deans, to talk about the needs for veterinary education in the country. I deal with Foreign Affairs and Trade on what are the aid needs in our region, in terms of veterinary science or public health and capacity building in our region. So it’s quite a varied role and one that draws on a range of skills, but I’m very fortunate to have a large group of experts that sit around me and support me.

Consider a career as an Australian Government Veterinarian

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is Australia’s largest employer of veterinarians. If you are interested in an exciting, challenging and rewarding career, we encourage you to consider the opportunities that the department can offer.

Contact details

To contact the ACVO please phone +61 2 6272 5512 or email ACVO.