Burns_E_Provision of professional services in peri-urban spaces


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Beyond the Edge: Australia's First National Peri-Urban Conference
La Trobe University
Oct 2013

Published in: Health & Medicine, Business
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Burns_E_Provision of professional services in peri-urban spaces

  1. 1. Provision of Professional Services in Peri-urban Spaces Edgar Burns, Sociology, La Trobe University Beyond the edge: Australia’s first national peri-urban conference 1-2 October 2013, Melbourne
  2. 2. Introduction: veterinary professional services in the peri-urban space 1. Veterinary work not obvious in planning and urban design 2. Food security - legal veterinary powers in disease outbreaks 3. Peri-urban veterinary practice  An instance of professional service delivery  It in turn, helps reflection on how urban change is managed or just happens
  3. 3. Older veterinary distinctions Terms: • Farm animals v domestic animals (pets) • Large animal v companion animals (pets) Themes: • Rural animals and farm costs v income • High value equine work • Also, herd level action v individual pet care valued very differently • Men veterinarians, community involvement, hugely changed
  4. 4. Peri-urban Melbourne
  5. 5. Peri-urban veterinary practice 1. Are there veterinary clinics in the periurban space? 2. If so, are there features we can associate with that location? 3. What triggers to ‘larger’ questions of landuse, service provision, adapting to population-residential change?
  6. 6. Veterinary clinics in the peri-urban space? 1. Used Vic State Gov Planning & Community Development definition for Melbourne » Regional municipalities excepted Geelong 2. Initial visiting intention limited to website self-representation of veterinary practices 3. Vet practices range from distinctively rural orientation to urban focus, and hybrid forms
  7. 7. Indirect counting veterinary activity in Melbourne peri-urban area • • 2/3 Australians own pets – Hypothesis: higher in peri-urban? Approx 50 veterinary practices • > 100 qualified veterinarians • > 100 veterinary nurses • Another 25+ admin staff The evolving space is interesting
  8. 8. Veterinary features of peri-urban location? • Rural-facing or urban-facing? • • • • Riding the tide of peri-urban change Old practices – new practices Two or more clinics, combined, in some instances Visiting specialists • In the peri-urban space • Equine practice - contemporary best fit? • Plus other species, intensified animal properties (alpaca) • Animal acupuncture, organic pet-food • New practices, different relationship to existing communities
  9. 9. West Gippsland Veterinary Centre
  10. 10. Old Sale Road Veterinary Service Newborough
  11. 11. Inverloch Veterinary Services
  12. 12. Alexandra Veterinary Clinic
  13. 13. A number of veterinary practices have no/ or minimal web presence, some acting just as a digital brochure
  14. 14. Golden Plains Equine, Meredith
  15. 15. Speciality work
  16. 16. Brook St, Sunbury Re-purpose existing buildings or dedicated premises
  17. 17. Meeting an urban/ lifestyle market
  18. 18. Veterinary and ‘larger’ peri-urban issues 1. Veterinary clinics in the peri-urban space as nodes for epidemics or bio-security at specific points of human-animal interface 2. Feral and semi-owned cats, and dog populations – rats... from urban sprawl in the peri-urban area; foxes; native species 3. Food security – not fruit, carrots and horticulture, but livestock, intensive or otherwise 4. Veterinary clinics as small businesses populating, sim-city-like, the peri-urban zone. The dual ruralurban orientation of the veterinary function, though not necessarily in individual practices
  19. 19. Other players than veterinarians • Councils • Farming supply • Pet supply • Livestock groups • Clubs, trainers, agistment
  20. 20. Veterinarians as significant employers
  21. 21. Multi-site practices business extension
  22. 22. Consciously facing urban and rural
  23. 23. High-level technology and service provision
  24. 24. Variety of economic effects 1. Wages and local economic multiplier effect 2. Differences in employment in relation to general farming activity 3. Today women veterinarians too 4. Veterinary nurses and other workers 5. Not just ‘breaking edge’ town/country but furtherback rural economic influence 6. High-tech equipment; group practice; o/heads 7. Purpose built clinics/ local property investment 8. Economic variations around Melbourne circumference
  25. 25. Insights from veterinary change? • • • • Existing functions, extended or modified Specialist functions, eg equine, dental Land-use initiatives in specialist animals Newcomer vets - companion animal focus • Bottom-up initiatives rather than planned » Not arguing an ‘invisible hand’ but asking what facilitates service provision? • Avoiding ‘good/bad’, nostalgia, but alert to land use, a finite resource
  26. 26. Conclusion • Veterinary service provision continuously adjusting • Peri-urban setting only one factor • Land-use intensification • Companion animal increase • Present discussion assumes further peri-urban expansion • World shortage of rural veterinarians – is peri-urban location a key? • May one day stop or change, affecting land use, human and animal populations