Greyhound industry mandatory qualifications a real possibility

Industry Update

A NATIONAL set of qualifications could become mandatory for all greyhound racing participants in order to be involved within the industry.

Feedback is being sought on the “Greyhound Project” was initiated by the Racing Industry Reference Committee which is responsible for building training products for the various racing codes in Australia.

The project seeks to update existing national qualifications so they reflect the current skills requirements of industry.

Once completed, qualifications within the Greyhound Project will be nationally recognised and delivered by TAFEs and other registered training organisations.

These skill sets could eventually be used as mandatory training qualifications for greyhound racing participants if approved by the various state authority bodies.

A spokesperson from Skills Impact, the government funded group in charge of educating various industries in Australia, said the Greyhound Project was well overdue.

The spokesperson said the updated units of competency had not been reviewed since 2008, with the greyhound industry undergoing significant change since then, including a greater emphasis on animal welfare.

“With no review being undertaken in such a long time they are no longer meeting the skill needs of the industry,” the spokesperson said.

“Through this project, consultation is now underway to ensure these units, qualifications and skill sets are up to date, and that they encapsulate racing integrity and animal welfare skills and knowledge critical to the industry.

“The industry is in the spotlight due to a number of issues over the past couple of years. By updating the qualifications, we can help to ensure national training aligns to the current best practises and demonstrates that the industry is up to date.

“The project will ensure that racing integrity and animal welfare skills and knowledge is reflected in all greyhound racing qualifications, units and skill sets.”

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This includes teaching participants about full greyhound life cycle commitments, from the time they are whelped to retirement, and eventually being homed with a ‘forever family’.

“As a result, people in the industry can apply these skills through all stages of the greyhound life cycle, helping greyhounds to have fulfilled lives, both while racing and once their racing career is over,” the spokesperson said.

The Racing Industry Reference Committee is responsible for both the Greyhound Project and the Equine Safety in Training Project which is also in the development stage.

The Greyhounds Project is being led by a Technical Advisory Committee which was formed on the recommendations of experts chosen by the Racing Industry Reference Committee.

The members of the TAC are as follows: Ron Fleming (RWWA), Jane McNicholl (independent), Karen Dawson (Australian Greyhound Veterinary Association), Ray Ferguson (Australian Greyhound Veterinarians), Elizabeth Arnott (Independent), Cecelia Huynh (GRNSW), Paul Marks (GRNSW), Robyn Bell (RQ), Peter Davis (independent), Sonia Davis (independent), Georgina Casper (GRNSW), Peter Wesley (TasRacing), Steven Karamatic (GRV), Heather Villinger (Greyhounds Australasia) and Tony Atkins (Tara Greyhound Equipment).

Of those who are independents, McNicholl is from the University of Adelaide and has previously completed a study on the heat stress in racing dogs. Elizabeth Arnott was the former Chief Veterinary Officer of GRNSW. Sonia and Peter Davis are greyhound owners and breeders, with Peter Davis a media personality and a former GRNSW board member.

Industry consultation is being accepted until close of business on Wednesday April 26 and includes feedback from the first round of consultation which took place between February and March.

With NSW participant licences extended until 2018, it raises the question of whether this training and assessment program will soon become mandatory for anyone seeking involvement within the greyhound racing industry.

The qualifications which could be attained would be either a Certificate II in Racing (Greyhounds) or a Certificate III in Racing (Greyhounds), whilst skill sets would be available for various roles within the industry such as attendants, breeding, catchers, primary educators, rearing and whelping.

Proposed units of competency include:

  • Handle Greyhounds
  • Attend greyhounds during exercise routines
  • Train and race greyhounds
  • Educate a greyhound
  • Coordinate greyhound breeding
  • Whelp greyhounds
  • Rear greyhounds
  • Interpret and respond to greyhound health and welfare
  • Ethically rehome a greyhound
  • Assess health and provide first aid for greyhounds
  • Meet nutritional needs of greyhounds
  • Determine care and treatment needs of greyhounds
  • Transport greyhounds

The Skills Impact spokesperson said the skill sets and qualifications are to be finalised by the end of the financial year, but was unable to comment on whether they are expected to become mandatory across the country.

“It is expected to be endorsed by the AISC and release to will be approximately six weeks after that,” the said.

“Registered training organisations will then be able to apply to their regulator to add the qualifications to their scope of delivery.

“The decision for the qualifications, units or skill sets to become mandatory would be up to the state or territory’s Greyhound Racing Controlling Body.”

ARG comment

Where will it end? It is one thing to be all for improving ourselves as well as welfare and integrity – this could be a step too far.

People who have been in the industry for 50 years don’t need to be shown how to train a dog – which could force many of the older generation out of the industry.

It is already a struggle to get new people involved in the industry and this is only going to make it harder with bundles of paperwork to prove that they know how to put a lead on a dog and look after it properly.

I am all for licensing breeders, rearers and breakers – but if hobby trainers have to jump through all these hoops just to train a greyhound – no one will be bothered.

Participants can have their say and provide feedback on the proposed skill sets and qualifications here.

Got feedback? Join the discussion Hide Comments

  1. Katherine…There are 13 units of competency here each one would incur a fee (lets say $100) to attain.
    We are talking about millions of dollars coming directly out of the pockets of participants not to mention further millions in fines for non compliance.
    This is government doing what governments do, they’re like a foot fungus once it starts it’s very hard to stop, they see someone making a bit of money and they go after it.
    The only way to stop this madness is for govt to cut the funding of ‘Skills Impact’. can’t see that happening.

  2. You cannot deny the fact that the government has walked away from the ownership of TAFE and associated tertiary education with multiple people lining up as service providers to cash in and qualify / educate people in various disciplines.
    The greyhound industry is about to receive an educational experience of some sorts but as we have discovered there are teachers who teach and then there are teachers who just take. In the Hunter multiple trades training companies have cashed in and quit after failing to meet the criteria. worse still people have been left high and dry with the TAFE system asked to pick up the slack.
    The saddest part is the money has been spent, the education has been wasted and the skill levels of these people de rated.
    We have actually seen a skill decrease in electrical trades which can only lead to disaster, reminding one’s self of the cost of the home insulation scandal, both in cost of money and life. Are we going to watch this happen with the greyhound industries funds?
    Participants need to see the same path walked as we are being asked to walk. Show us the same levels of integrity. Declare all and any conflicts of interest. How much does it cost and who is getting the cash. Industry insiders or government preferred contractors.

  3. Rounded out the education still has to come under the same format and processes of any qualification.
    Things to ask and insist on is that the Government and GRNSW own the training program and or the said National program is made available in a training format.
    Given that the national standards of training require Cert IV in Training and Assessing only, then i would think that the smart way would be to have Race Clubs, associations, groups run the training themselves with the above skilled people delivering the course. The trainer does not have to be qualified in the discipline but can use an expert or qualified person to assist. RPL - Recognized Prior Learning is a qualification and we should explore this avenue to the max.

    Sadly all this is another element in the “war of attrition” on greyhound racing, especially in the country with trainers and clubs set to close at the expense of these costly exercises. The result will be the same with welfare improvement not measured in any other way accept the reduction in numbers.

  4. The question that must be ask, who will set these mandatory qualifications .If its bureaucrats who would have no skills what so ever to pass judgement on participants who’s competency would be second to none re the Racing Greyhound. If they get a say the industry is headed for closure no other code of racing is so over regulated than the Greyhound Racing at the moment you only have to fart and your out. If we get somebody like Newson passing Judgement on participants on how they should operate ? It will be, all over red rover !

  5. Well from the look of all the changes we will have two boards with untold numbers of people “administering” and now private education trainers ( and hasn’t that been a wonderful success all over the country lol). All of this was supposedly about the welfare of the dogs - seems to me it is all about people making money from administering and educating and all sorts of other BS. Are horse trainer expected to do educational units at their own expense? All these millions could have been used to actually improve the welfare of dogs- sadly it is a joke.
    A small percentage of people who live baited and now millions wasted on administering and educating all the people who already do the right thing.

  6. The way this is going we will have five thousand people “administering and educating” and fifty dogs running around the tracks.

  7. While I’m all for some form of Mandatory training, the process should be kept simple and understandable. The proposed make up of the Technical Advisory Committee does not bode well for the impartation of a basic level of education. Added to that is concern I have about some of the proposed Committee members. Didn’t McNicholl only provide data for a half baked heat stress study that led NSW to adopt its flawed Hydration Policy. I say flawed because the only data examined was the weight loss of dogs whilst being kenneled prior to racing. She didn’t study the effect of water being available to the greyhound whilst kennelled. From memory Karen Dawson fronted the Parliamentary Inquiry headed by Robert Borsak and gave evidence that it would cost her somewhere in the vicinity of $40K to $60K to retrain a greyhound and make it suitable for adoption. As for the ‘Eminent’ Dr Liz Arnott, who took the money thrown at her by Paul Newson and ‘ran’, well, what can I say. She knew absolutely nothing about Greyhounds and am aware of her ringing up my vet to seek her advice on occasions. These are 3 people who I believe hide behind an agenda to shut down greyhound racing and here they are, lining up to get their snouts in the trough whilst plotting and scheming further to achieve their ends.

  8. How would the thoroughbred racing industry react to a proposal similar to this. How would blokes like Waller, the Cummings, the Snowdens and the Hawkes deal with it? I’m pretty sure that none of them would take too kindly to being told how to train their horses and lets face it, they all learnt their craft from the bottom up and mainly through trial and error. Imagine some knob like Liz Arnott fronting John Hawkes and telling him that he’s gonna have to go back to school to get his training qualification certificate.

    Taking it a step further, why don’t they require all humans with animals in their care to undergo an education in animal husbandry. I have a couple of neighbours whose dogs never see the light of day outside of their back yard. Wonder what the eminent Dr Arnott would have to say about those dogs’ ‘socialisation’.

  9. Deborah,
    I noticed in this weeks Recorder the GBOTA has stepped up on the mandatory water in kennels issue, a good thing. I know Bob will ‘poo poo’ this but they should be more vocal on these other issues. Where are they? We need all the help we can get

  10. Again we are being discriminated against like no other code so how is that right. Pretty fkn simple its not.