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Animal Care and Management


This page provides high level information and data on the Animal Care and Management industry. The Animal Care and Management industry can be described as having five sectors: Veterinary Services, Animal Breeding Services, Pet and Companion Animal Services, Captive Wildlife Operations, and Hunting and Trapping.

Please visit Veterinary Nursing for more specific information and data on that specific sector.

Please visit Animal Services for information and data relating to the following sectors:

  • Animal studies
  • Animal technology
  • Captive animals and wildlife operations
  • Pet and companion animal services
  • Farriery and equine dentistry
  • Pet grooming and styling
  • Animal control and regulation
  • Hunting and trapping
  • Animal breeding services
  • Wildlife care and rehabilitation.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

According to the 2016 Census data, there are approximately 20,800 people in employed in the Veterinary Services industry; 12,900 employed in Parks and Gardens Operations; 3,500 in Horse Farming, and 300 in Hunting and Trapping sectors. 

Both Veterinary Services and Parks and Gardens Operations sectors have grown since 2006, whereas the Horse Farming and Hunting and Trapping sectors have maintained a stable employment level.

Enrolments in the Animal Care and Management Training Package have grown since 2014. In 2014 there were 21,914 program enrolments and in 2016 there were 25,493 program enrolments.

The unit of competency with the highest number of subject enrolments in 2016 (14,200) is ACMGAS202A - Participate in workplace communications.

Please visit the respective pages for more specific employment and training data on Veterinary Nursing and other Animal Services sectors.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Animal Care and Management IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017—2020 identifies a range of factors which impact upon the veterinary services industry and workforce. Some of the key challenges and opportunities for the industry include:

  • Australia has a high and growing pet ownership rate, which will require a range of veterinary services over the next decade. This includes alternative therapies specialisations such as animal rehabilitation, physiotherapy and acupuncture.
  • Availability and application of more advanced and expensive treatments for broken bones and serious illnesses is also expected to lift the demand for industry services (including pet insurance and pet welfare) as the life expectancy of animals is growing.
  • The rural/farm animal market segment and its paying capability for veterinary services provide greater challenges for the veterinary sector, as there is some reluctance from this market to use veterinary services.
  • Outbreaks of disease and viruses (such as Q fever and Hendra virus) provide challenges for the veterinary, horse and meat-related industries to manage risks related to disease identification and infestation.
  • Recurrent bushfires and flood events in urban and rural areas require immediate rescue efforts of state-based veterinary emergency management agencies, RSPCA and animal rescue organisations.
  • The availability of new technologies, advanced medical procedures (ultrasounds, laparoscopy, MRI, microfracture detection) and newly developed pharmaceuticals in the veterinary sector technology advancements.

The Animal Care and Management IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017—2020 identifies a number of priority skills to ensure the workforce is able to respond to the challenges and opportunities identified above. These include:

  • Work safely around animals (infection control), and the ability to use a range of mechanisms to minimise the risk of infection in veterinary clinics and rural businesses such as meat processors, saleyards and livestock transporters. Such mechanisms include information platforms provided by animal health surveillance programs, work practice controls, screening services and regulatory requirements for biological hazards.
  • Skills update in farriery, including handling horses, farriery activities, first aid, welding, using a forge, repair tools, fit shoes, making shoes.
  • Skills in horse education.
  • Specialist skills in alternative animal therapies including animal rehabilitation, physiotherapy and acupuncture.
  • Large animal rescue skills. Recent increases in bushfires and flood events in urban and rural areas have driven the need for expertise in dealing with large animals. Fire and rescue, veterinary operations, farmers and transporters routinely deal with incidents involving large animals in rural areas. There is a need for industry workers to be properly trained.
  • Skills in customer experience management using digital technologies, including:
    • The ability to implement and use CRM technology to oversee and track all interactions with customers during the animal care service provision
    • The ability to communicate with and provide animal care services to customers via mobile digital technologies
    • The ability to use visuals, displays and interactivity to connect with customers and create a compelling experience, particularly in captive wildlife operations
    • The ability to foster a customer-focused culture that delivers customer service delivery targets.
  • Skills in animal surveillance technologies such as:
    • The ability to use specialised geospatial software and technologies, including remote sensors, drones, new generation satellite imagery technologies, wearable and mobile technologies and apps.
    • The ability to work with different types of geospatial data for field data collections in animal health surveillance programs.
    • The ability to apply a range of analytical methods to geospatial data that directly supports assessment, planning, and decision-making for combating emerging infectious diseases in ecosystems.
    • The ability to communicate and engage veterinary operators involved in targeted and national health surveillance programs with relevant information to manage identified risks. Knowledge of and ability to implement animal tracking technologies such as GPS pet tracker or RFID microchip implants and pet wearable devices that enable surveillance and tracking to provide advice to customers.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Animal Ethics Committees

Animal Health Australia

Animal Medicines Australia (AMA)

Animal Welfare League Australia (AWLA)

Association of Pet Boarding and Grooming (APBG)

Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia (APDT)

Australasian Animal Studies Association (AASA)

Australasian Association of Equine Dentistry

Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association (ANZLAA)

Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB)

Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders (AASMB)

Australian Cat Federation (ACF)

Australian National Cats (ANCATS)

Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Australian Pig Breeders Association

Australian Registered Cattle Breeders' Association (ARCBA)

Australian Standardbred Breeders Association (ASBA)

Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (ASSBA)

Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)

Circus Federation of Australia

Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ)

Equine Dental Association of Australia (EDAA)

National Animal Technology Educators Forum (NATEF)

National Parks

National Parks Australia Council (NPAC)

National Parks Conservation Associations

NSW Cat Fanciers Association (NSW CFA)

NSW Marine Estate

Parks and Leisure Australia

Parks Australia

Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)

Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA)

Pets Australia

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA)

State and Territory National Parks Association

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA)

Vertebrate Pest Managers Association Australia (VPMAA)

Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia (VNCA)

Zoo Aquarium Association (ZAA)


Employee associations

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)

Professionals Australia


Regulatory bodies

Register of Veterinary Practitioners - ACT

Veterinary Board of Tasmania

Veterinary Board of the NT

Veterinary Practitioners Board of New South Wales

Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria

Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland

Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia

Veterinary Surgeons’ Board of Western Australia

Data sources and notes

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 3 and 4 digit industries
    • 0191 Horse Farming
    • 042 Hunting and Trapping
    • 697 Veterinary Services
    • 892 Parks and Gardens Operations.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Activity, 2016 Program Enrolments by Animal Care and Management Training Package.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Animal Care and Management Industry Reference Committee’s 2017—2020 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

Updated: 20 Sep 2018
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