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  • Rikki Lambert

'Veticare' levy to pay for up to $120m on the way - who's in the crosshairs?

Could the greyhound and horse racing industries be leading the race to pay for Veticare?

The Animal Justice Party plans to roll out an animal version of Medicare called Veticare if their influence holds or grows in the Victorian parliament on 26 November.

Western Victorian MLC Andy Meddick (pictured) told Flow that while the first animal hospital as part of the policy commitment had been included in the state budget, he estimated initial cost of Veticare

"I've had some initial discussions with the parliamentary budget office but because it is fluid at the moment, they can't settle on something .
"We estimate the establishment cost in the first year could be anywhere between $60 to $120 million but we're just not sure yet. It will be settled down once we get the changes to the Acts that we need."

Part of the initiative is to have a series of public wildlife hospitals including a $4.7m facility pledged in southwest Victoria while $966,000 would be spent supporting carers and rescuers delivering animals to the hospital.

Mr Meddick pledged that the initiative would not have a negative impact on the state budget as he intended to target a specific sector for a levy in the way the tobacco industry is levied to help pay for public health costs:

"There is a way I think ... I can't give too much away but I have been in discussions with the government about the funding model and where that comes from. It is an industry which contributes to vast amounts of harm across the spectrum across the world.
"I do have a specific area that I think the funding should come from but that's in confidence at the moment ... be rest assured it's not going to affect the budget bottom line."

Hear the full interview on the Flow podcast player below:


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