HRA National Conference Wrap Up

11 January 2019

The Inaugural HRA National Conference was held on Friday 14 December 2018 at Flemington Racecourse and is being hailed a success.

“We set ourselves an ambitious target and delivered with the quality of speakers and the content they covered being fantastic.  But for me, one of the most pleasing aspects was the interaction we had from attendees, with great questions from the floor throughout the day which in turn provoked a lot of really valuable dialogue,” said HRA Chairman, Mr Michael Taranto.

“The trick now will be to turn the information and ideas collected at the Conference into tangible outcomes for the industry,” he said.

With an attendance of almost 150 people, the Conference was very well supported overall with a wide variety of stakeholders represented, although trainers and drivers were somewhat underrepresented, an issue which was recognized and can hopefully be rectified for future editions.

“This was our first attempt at running something of this magnitude and there are always lessons to be learned and things we can improve upon for the future, but by and large it was a great event.  The unsolicited feedback and the survey results confirm that,” said Mr Taranto.

HRA initiated a survey of all attendees after the event and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. More than 90% felt the conference either met or exceeded their expectations whilst 72% respondents thought the information presented was either very or extremely useful. The survey also asked what outcomes attendees would most like to see pursued by HRA.

Taking into account the presentations, questions, ideas and feedback, HRA will now consider and prioritise which issues can be developed.  These will include:

  • Investigate additional international content sharing opportunities
  • A greater understanding and exploitation of industry data
  • The introduction of Ratings Based Handicapping as a priority
  • Maintain and/or develop closer networks established via Conference speakers and sponsors
  • Establish a sub-committee of HRA specifically for young people that meets quarterly
  • Institute a formal mentoring program (with different focuses - new drivers/trainers, new young administrators)
  • Create a media training initiative for industry participants
  • Establish a formal International Exchange Program
  • Investigate an ‘Apprenticeship Program’ for concession drivers
  • Lift the professionalism of Drivers
  • Investigate the introduction of Driver's Colors
  • Establish a national strategy for optimising social media – particularly Instagram
  • Establish a national education/training strategy including in High Schools and Secondary Colleges in key areas
  • Provide access to business and or financial advice for industry participants
  • Provide industry-based education/explanation on how the industry is funded – tailored for each State
  • Identify & recruit young people into industry committees and associations – and support these organisations with succession planning templates
  • Increase the profile of mini trots in our mainstream and social media
  • Work together to lift image, starting with respect for each other within the industry
  • Investigate presentation enhancements including the introduction of new audio and visual technologies into broadcasts

Mr Taranto also explained that while a full review will be completed by the HRA Executive at their next meeting, early planning was underway for the next Conference to be held in conjunction with the 2020 Inter Dominions in Sydney.