Small Companion Animal Incident Management Project

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Case for change

The 2019-2020 bushfires highlighted the important role of animal facility workers, emergency service workers and evacuation centres in supporting injured and displaced animals. With many evacuation centres overwhelmed, the need for revised evacuation protocols, procedures for accommodating companion animals and staff training were recommended by several reports, including the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. The Royal Commission recommended ‘national consistency in training and competency standards’ to encourage resource and information sharing, and to enable ‘someone trained in one state or territory to work effectively in another’.

This project aims to provide a national approach to the skills standards for responding to incidents involving small companion animals.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2021 Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast (see pages 52-57).

The Animal Care and Management Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project as part of their responsibility to support engagement with the sector, and to ensure the project meets industry stakeholder needs.

Skills Impact will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see pages 52-57)

 

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Project Plan

The benefits of owning a pet are well understood by people in Australia, with an estimated 30.4 million pets across the country. The love, care and protective instinct people have for their pets was highlighted during the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires, with many not wanting to leave their animals and even putting themselves at risk in efforts to save them. In Australia, the majority of pets are dogs, cats and other small mammals. Pets and their owners become at risk when fires, floods and natural events cause catastrophic damage. A large number of them are also located in rural and regional Australia where bushfires are more likely to occur. The bushfire events of 2019-20 underlined the need for national skills standards to be developed to support the important role of animal facility, emergency service, animal welfare and evacuation centre workers involved in the coordination and care of small companion animals during disasters caused by natural events.

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended ‘national consistency in training and competency standards’ to encourage resource and information sharing, and to enable ‘someone trained in one state or territory to work effectively in another’. This project aims to provide a national approach to the skills standards for responding to incidents involving small companion animals, which could also be used by local boarding kennels, shelters, and evacuation centres to upskill staff.

Industry experts will be consulted to look at the skills requirements to coordinate every part of an incident involving small companion animals. Focus will be placed on the job functions that can be undertaken by emergency workers, kennel workers, animal welfare workers and vet nurses. The skills to support the safety needs of both animals and humans will be a priority, including the skills to deal with distressed owners and pets, how to house different animals together, as well as the skills to care for injured animals.

“The average pet-loving household has four or more people, is located in a rural or regional area,” Animal Medicines Australia.

Project Scope

Units of competency and skill sets will be developed to address the skills required for animal facility workers and emergency services to plan, respond and care for small companion animals during emergency situations. The units will be included as electives in existing qualifications.

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates. Make sure to select ‘Animal Care and Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

Relevant Occupations
  • Animal facility worker
  • Emergency service worker
  • Evacuation centre worker
  • Animal welfare worker
  • Local laws animal management officer
  • Veterinary nurse
Timeline

July-August 2021
Initial scoping

September-October 2021
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

November 2021
Drafts available for broad consultation

February 2022
Validation of final drafts

March 2022
Finalisation of Training Package components

April 2022
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

April 2022
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

Project Team
Danni McDonaldIndustry Skills Standards Portfolio Manager smlcomaim.project@skillsimpact.com.au
Diana McNaughtonIndustry Engagement Manager diana@skillsimpact.com.au
Anna HendersonIndustry Skills Standard Contractor
Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in November 2021, and again for validation of final drafts in February 2022. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the units.

It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you have experience working in the field of emergencies involving small companion animals, Skills Impact appreciates your input and assistance.

Please register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link. Alternatively, contact the project team on smlcomaim.project@skillsimpact.com.au or 03 9321 3526.

N.B. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Webinars will be held to replace the face-to-face consultation workshops Skills Impact would usually host around Australia.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project based on their industry role, size or specialty. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations to seek their involvement and views on all draft skill sets and units. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list, they have simply been identified as the most, likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Development

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Drafts Available

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Validation

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Finalisation

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