Northern Australian Biosecurity Surveillance (NABS) activities in Western Australia

Page last updated: Thursday, 27 August 2020 - 11:00am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

NABS Significant Disease Investigation Network

One of the initiatives under NABS is the Significant Disease Investigation (SDI) Network. The SDI Network is a network of private veterinary practices and government veterinarians working in northern Australia. The SDI Network aims to increase the number of disease investigations and improve sampling and reporting outcomes of SDIs in cattle conducted across the north to benefit producers. NABS provides funding to support the private veterinarians to conduct these disease investigations.

Suitable investigations

The disease investigation case must meet the following criteria to be considered for subsidisation under this initiative:

  • The livestock producer must have livestock (cattle, sheep, pigs or goats) showing signs of disease. (For disease signs in other species, eligibility for the initiative will be considered on a case-by-case basis, based on whether the presenting signs may be similar to a reportable disease and whether a full disease investigation can be completed.)
  • The livestock producer must engage a veterinarian to conduct a full investigation into the signs of disease, which usually involves a post-mortem.
  • The participating veterinarian must either be a NABS registered practice or be granted prior approval by their Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Field Veterinary Officer.
  • The veterinarian must agree to conduct a full investigation into the cause of the disease signs (usually including a post-mortem), submit the required samples to DPIRD Diagnostics & Laboratory Services (DD&LS) - animal pathology for testing, and report to outcome to the livestock owner.
  • The livestock producer must have a property identification code (PIC).
  • The property or area is located in northern Western Australia, north of the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • Note: This program is funded from 2016 to 2019.
  • Disease investigations can only receive a subsidy from one program. Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) exclusions should be submitted under the TSE program, with additional travel subsidy. Note that the TSE program also provides a subsidy directly to the producer.

Types of support available

Veterinary subsidies

Up to $2000 per eligible investigation is available to veterinarians to support the cost of travel, freight and completing a thorough investigation.

Payment of the subsidy will be made directly to the veterinarian on submission of the financial claim form/tax invoice. A breakdown of how the subsidy has been calculated will need to be provided by the veterinarian. The veterinarian should also ensure that the producer receives direct benefit from the subsidy (including improved quality and timeliness of investigation and advice on disease control or management based on outcome of investigation). 

Laboratory fee exemption

Laboratory services are provided to eligible cases submitted to the DPIRD Diagnostics & Laboratory Services - animal pathology. All notifiable disease testing will be undertaken free of charge. Veterinarians should discuss the availability of fee exemptions directly with the SDI Network coordinator or duty pathologist for other tests. Testing costs are paid by the DPIRD animal health surveillance project and results are used in national surveillance databases to support export market access.

Other support

The DPIRD SDI Network coordinator and duty pathologist can provide advice on approach to the investigation, specimen collection, handling and transport of samples. Specific sampling equipment and containers can also be provided.

Procedure for investigation

The private veterinarian must:

  • contact the SDI Network Coordinator to determine case eligibility
  • conduct the disease investigation and submit quality samples to DDLS, including:
    • owner details (including PIC)
    • complete case history
  • provide a written disease investigation report to the livestock owner and SDI Network Coordinator.
  • Submit the NABS SDI claim form/tax invoice to the SDI Network Coordinator.

WA SDI Network Coordinator contact:

Dr Graham Mackereth, Field Veterinary Officer
mobile: 0477 358 066

NABS pastoralist post-mortem kit and workshops

NABS recognises that pastoralists may observe unusual signs of disease in their animals and not be able to have a veterinarian collect samples from affected animals in a timely manner. In order to enable samples to be collected at the time of the disease event, pastoralists are encouraged to collect some samples while they discuss the case with their vets. 

DPIRD can supply NABS post-mortem kits for you to keep on the property to enable sample collection. Regional post-mortem workshops are also available throughout the season to learn how to approach a post-mortem and sample collection.

To obtain a post-mortem kit and attend a workshop near you, contact:

Contact information

Marion Seymour
+61 (0)8 9651 0534