London’s calling as DPI’s chief vet to take reins during Brexit

HEADING OFF SOON: Christine Middlemiss is leaving Orange to take up a role as the British Government’s chief veterinary officer. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1206jkdpivet1
HEADING OFF SOON: Christine Middlemiss is leaving Orange to take up a role as the British Government’s chief veterinary officer. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1206jkdpivet1

Christine Middlemiss will be trading the wide, leafy promenades of Orange for the crowded, grey streets of London. 

Miss Middlemiss, the NSW Department of Primary Industry (DPI) chief veterinarian, has taken up the role of a lifetime as the British Government’s chief veterinary officer. 

The job will see her take a key role in UK bio-security policy in a turbulent post-Brexit world.  

She said she had “mixed feelings” about taking up the post.

“I’m excited for the post, it’s such an important time for the UK. It’s such a crucial time,” she said. 

“That said, I’m sad to leave Orange, I’ve loved it here.”

Miss Middlemiss said the town reminded her of her native Scotland. 

“I’m a country girl. I love living in the country with the open space and it being so green, and it sort of reminds me of home,” she said.

“[Orange] is lovely for me, it’s a perfect mix of quiet and having things to do. There’s lots going on but any time I want to be out in the country it’s only five minutes away.” 

Miss Middlemiss said she was proud of the work she had done in NSW since her appointment in August 2016. 

She said she was especially proud of the bio-security legislation the DPI had put in place surrounding white spot disease, which can have huge impact on crustaceans like shrimp and prawns. 

“The bio-security legislation is a great, great legacy piece of work and I’m really proud of the team,” she said.

“A lot of work went into white spot disease and working with Queenslanders and with industry.”

She said what had really stood out to her was making the process of making the legislation transparent.

“For me, the important thing about the legislation was the risk-assessment and ways of doing work which showed the evidence to industry,” she said.

“If we can all see the science and evidence we can all work together.

“It gives us a better understanding rather than the traditional method where the government develops everything and applies it.” 

She said if the opportunity hadn’t cropped up, she wouldn’t have left her current job.

“It’s an opportunity I wouldn’t get the chance to take up again,” she said.

“There’s been so much help from DPI, everyone has been so understanding.”

A spokesman for DPI said Miss Middlemiss’ role would be filled in the new year.