"> Planned closure of University of Queensland Dayboro vet clinic shocks cattle farmers - eDairyNews-EN
The University of Queensland (UQ) has announced plans to close its specialist veterinary training clinic in Dayboro, north of Brisbane, a decision described as "devastating" by the region's agricultural community.
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The UQ Dayboro vet clinic north of Brisbane has operated for 34 years.(Facebook: UQ Vet Clinic Dayboro)

The University of Queensland (UQ) has announced plans to close its specialist veterinary training clinic in Dayboro, north of Brisbane, a decision described as “devastating” by the region’s agricultural community.

The clinic has operated in the Moreton Bay region for 34 years, providing expert veterinary support to local dairy and beef farms, while training vet students in large and small animal practice.

But the university last week announced it plans to close the clinic, shifting students and client-facing veterinary services to its Gatton clinic, near Toowoomba.

‘Deflated and abandoned’

The news shocked local farmers, who for decades have relied on specialist vets at the UQ clinic to provide emergency and routine care to their stock.

The university proposes closing the clinic in mid-February next year.

Nindethana pastoral owner Bronwyn Betts, a third-generation Droughtmaster cattle farmer at Camp Mountain, half an hour south of Dayboro, said the clinic’s closure would devastate the area.

Four vets in blue overalls working on a small calf
UQ vets and students working at Nindethana Droughtmaster Stud in Camp Mountain, north of Brisbane.(Supplied: Bronwyn Betts)

She said the team of academic vets working at the clinic were “extraordinary”, with decades of experience and strong partnerships with the local agricultural community.

“We’ve developed an amazing relationship with these vets. We have contact with them all the time.”

The closest remaining accredited cattle vet is in Toogoolawah, about an hour-and-a-half drive from Dayboro, Dr Betts said.

‘Consultation process underway’

A UQ spokesperson said in a statement that the university was “incredibly grateful for the long-standing support of the Dayboro community”.

“We will be engaging with stakeholders over the coming months to understand the impacts and help find a positive solution to provide continuity of veterinary care,” the spokesperson said.

“A consultation process about the proposal is underway with our staff.

On the website announcing the closure, Nigel Perkins, head of UQ’s School of Veterinary Science, said the decision to consolidate veterinary clinical teaching to Gatton recognised the maturity of the facilities and services at that campus.

“It also reflects the need to manage services and expend funds efficiently in supporting student learning and graduate outcomes,” Professor Perkins .

A petition has been launched urging the university to keep the Dayboro clinic operating, with dozens of comments from local residents, and current and former UQ students concerned about the closure.

National Tertiary Education Union UQ branch president Andrew Bonnell said the union expected the loss of about nine continuing positions and six casual positions in the restructure.

Challenges resourcing vet degrees

Australian Veterinary Association spokeswoman Cristy Secombe said the closure reflected “the challenges faced by universities in resourcing the veterinary degree”.

“The loss of this veterinary service and wonderful local community partnership is likely to have the most impact at the community level,” Dr Secombe said.

“We are confident that the University of Queensland will continue to deliver high quality veterinary education to their students.

“What does concern the AVA is the extreme stress universities are under to deliver their veterinary programs.

“Appropriate support of veterinary education by the government is essential to future proof the veterinary profession.”

Community support for education

In 2012, UQ closed its small-animal clinic at St Lucia and in 2013, invested $2.4 million in upgrading its Dayboro facilities.

A brown cow stares at the camera
Cattle farmers in the Moreton Bay region rely on the UQ Dayboro vets to support their farms.(ABC Rural: Matt Brann)

Dr Betts said the Dayboro farming community had always welcomed the UQ team and appreciated the importance of allowing veterinary students to work on their animals.

“We have embraced the educational needs and purposes of the university clinic out there and have done for over three decades,” she said.

Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner and federal Dickson MP Peter Dutton were contacted for comment.

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