AUSTRALIA’S new chief veterinary officer is Dr Beth Cookson, replacing former CVO Dr Mark Schipp after his recent retirement.
Dr Cookson is the first female Acting CVO who is now permanently in the federal role and not acting.
Several women have been appointed to the positions of chief veterinary officer within state and territory jurisdictions since the first, Dr Helen Scott-Orr, in 1989.
A release from Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said Dr Cookson brings a wealth of diverse experience across the agriculture, fisheries and forestry portfolio.
“Her work on the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, and in the Biosecurity Animal and Operations Divisions before being appointed Deputy ACVO in March 2022, has been vital to the ongoing success of the department,” Mr Watt said.
“She has extensive experience in the design and delivery of animal health surveillance programs in northern Australia, delivering biosecurity capacity building programs in near neighbouring countries, biosecurity import risk analysis and international trade negotiation.”
Mr Watt said the ACVO works to address major animal health issues of national interest, such as the threat of antimicrobial resistance, and enhancing trade and market access for animals and animal products.
“Dr Cookson brings a wide range of experience from more than 15 years in policy and operational roles that will greatly benefit the ongoing achievement of these goals.
“Her important focus on northern Australia, including working with industry and strengthening partnerships with our near neighbours, will continue as ACVO,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate Dr Cookson on her appointment and look forward to working together.”