PestCert - AEPMA
Read about PestCert - the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association "stop supply" scheme which seeks to dominate the Pest Control Service Industry in Australia.
The AEPMA and their PestCert scheme promoter Mr Ron DeGroot has used threats and intimidation tactics to attempt to railroad all PCO's in Australia into joining a monopolistic private enterprise scheme conjured up through secret contractual and funding arrangements, to be controlled by a yet to be formed corporate entity, managed by a yet to be disclosed General Manager - could that position be promised to Mr DeGroot the PestCert promoter (?) at what salary (?) ... or some other person of unknown ability with little knowledge or experience in owning and running a pest control service business?
The plot thickens ...
UPDATE: JANUARY 2005 - In the just published Pest Manager magazine editor Mr Andy Royal proves himself to be a "mouth-piece" for the AEPMA.
Mr Royal says that the AEPMA contractural arrangements with Mr DeGroot should remain "SECRET". In effect, don't YOU worry about such things as the money and the associated vested interests .... this type of acquiescent cavalier approach of Mr Royal is NOT needed or appreciated from someone in such an influential position.
Disappointingly, in the January 2005 Pest Manager's magazine editor Mr Royal also chose to ignore, dodge or twist constructive criticism of the AEPMA PestCert scheme at the recent industry meeting in Sydney (my home town).
FOR EXAMPLE - in a PestCert article, under the heading Fair Trading ... Mr Royal states
"The proposition that NSW Dept of Fair trading license all pest managers fails to recognise NSW is NOT the only state in Australia and that Sydney is not Australia's only major city".
A raw prawn ? No one I know has suggested that the NSW Dept of Fair Trading should license all PCO's. Each State Government Dept of Fair Trading should license PCO's in their home state. With a liaison committee between the States to provide consistency particularly as regards the TAFE Pest Control Certificate, which together with 2 years practical experience, should be the initial requirement for a PCO license.
Each State Government Dept of Fair Trading has the legislative power, infrastructure, systems and ethical reputation to administer a PCO licensing system on an impartial basis.
Mr Royal dodges the real side of the issue. He claims the current State Government PCO industry regulation (licensing) is inconsistent and inefficient duplication. Yet his magazine or the AEPMA has never published detailed analysis of such inconsistencies or inefficient systems. What parts of the existing system worked well? What were the shortcomings? May be Mr Royal should do some real work and stay out of private industry manoeuvres seeking a monopoly in training for the Australian urban pest control service industry.
Mr Royal side steps the proposal to have each State Dept of Fair Trading license the urban pest control service industry - dismissing it as "an issue outside the brief of PestCert to promote and lobby for". (He can't keep a secret?)
Mr Royal sounds like a spokesman for PestCert. What happened to incisive editorial independence ?
Well Mr Royal ... why didn't the AEPMA lobby for competent PCO licensing by each State Dept of Fair Trading / Consumer Affairs, the best Government agency in Australia to handle this, RATHER THAN spending big money and giving long term legal commitments (hush, it's a secret) to Mr DeGroot and PestCert?
No, Mr Royal would rather play favourites to a AEPMA PestCert scheme which is clouded in secret deals as to who ultimately owns and controls the scheme and how the money is to be split up. The AEPMA PestCert promoters maintain they will seek ACCC backing to make the AEPMA PestCert into an unofficial "TAX OFFICE" in that unless you pay them money for training they decide you need (whether you need it or NOT) then you will NOT be able to operate a pest control business.
What's even more unbelievable, is that the AEPMA has handed over to Mr DeGroot's private company hundreds of thousands of $$$ dollars. For what benefit to AEPMA members ?
The AEPMA members have NOT approved or even been told the full story of the AEPMA investment in a proposed training company yet to be formed (with a constitution that does not currently exist) and as per Mr DeGroot, the AEPMA will not own or control.
The AEPMA Board of Directors must recognise the obvious "conflict of interest" in authorising the use of membership funds in a scheme with the expressed objective of putting some members out of business. Apparently, much of these funds were from Affiliate Members (pesticide manufacturers / distributors) but I cannot find one such organisation that will own up to this.
The AEPMA PestCert scheme promoters are seeking industry wide support and investment in this scheme. YET, THE AEPMA NATIONAL BOARD, Mr DEGROOT and Mr ROYAL want the contractural arrangements between the AEPMA PestCert scheme promoters to be kept TOP SECRET. What are they hiding ? Who is to get what, out of it - for how long ? What are their financial operating budgets to keep it afloat ? Will it cost us a fortune and be a "cash-cow" for AEPMA, Mr DeGroot etc. ? (Hush, it's a secret) Why all the cloak and dagger stuff? They are using AEPMA member funds and resources, for the benefit of a private consortium or outside interests to the detriment of some members.
Following my complaint last month to the Pest Manager magazine's owners about the one-eyed editorial in favour of the AEPMA (their propaganda proliferates in each issue of the magazine) Mr Royal agreed to publish a letter from me, unedited by him, as regards criticisms of the proposed AEPMA PestCert scheme. This was a false promise ... my letter to the editor was published only after many of the serious criticisms were deleted by Mr Royal. If you want to complain about the biased editor contact the owner of the Pest Manager magazine - Pauline Holyoake 02 9713 9822
With the potential cost to the PCO's and revenue gains sought by the PestCert (owned or controlled by AEPMA or Mr DeGroot?) estimated to be in the millions of dollars there are high stakes for the promoters. The AEPMA are on a collision course with reality as their ill-conceived impractical PestCert "stop supply" scheme causes the silent majority to rise up after years of industry neglect to tell them what they think of their amateurish presidence over the degrading industry standards during many years in which the AEPMA upper-crust have proclaimed themselves as THE voice of the industry and have collected and spent millions of dollars of fees generated from their members.
INVITATION Re YOUR Future in The Industry
FOR PEST CONTROL BUSINESS OWNERS / STAFF / etc
WHAT TO: Meeting re PestCert Scheme
WHEN: 1 pm to 4 pm WEDNESDAY, 26th NOVEMBER, 2003
WHERE: Silverwater Club - Cnr. Clyde St and Silverwater Rd, Silverwater
WHY: The AEPMA and their consultant Mr Ron DeGroot have been promoting PestCert as a pest control industry accreditation “stop supply” scheme seeking dominant control over pest control businesses.
In other words - UNLESS your pest control business pays PestCert alot of money they are seeking to deny you access to pesticides etc that can put you out of business. It’s that serious – don’t ignore it – or it will happen !
contacted the ACCC who do NOT know the details of the PestCert “stop
supply” scheme and have NOT given any such approval and support.
The ACCC was not favourably impressed by the claims in the Pest Manager
magazine. I reckon you will see a public apology to the industry soon
from Mr DeGroot.
I URGE YOU to attend this meeting to make your feelings felt OTHERWISE you could face PestCert dominance or potential “stop supply” extinction.
INDEPENDENT MODERATOR at the Meeting: the highly respected Ms Anne-Marie Poirrier, formerly owner of Systems Pest Management Sydney, will independently chair the meeting.
The Draft PestCert Code of Practice can be viewed on www.pestcert.com.au (if you can download the PDF file … the file is so heavy my computer crashed when I first tried to access it). Some important aspects and omissions of this DRAFT PestCert Code of Practice are noted below:
The cost to us is omitted. The AEPMA wants you to pay for PestCert accreditation of your business AND all your technicians, office staff (that give any unscripted advice on pesticides), sales representatives, pesticide/equipment storage areas, and motor vehicles including tanks, pumps, equipment thereon.
The September 2003 Pest Manager magazine notes Chris Orton of CERIT is to prepare and operate the initial courses. (In fact the CERIT document was to draft the CPD operation program) The CERIT one day course in November 2003 on termites was $320. Will the initial cost of PestCert training and accreditation for all this exceeds $1,000 or $2,000 for most individuals ? Who knows? Whatever now will it increase in the future? Who decides? How much annually?
Once you, your business, your staff, motor vehicles, storage area are PestCert accredited, apparently individuals are required to undertake days of PestCert courses to maintain the PestCert accreditation – at what cost?
PestCert is an entity of AEPMA – the Code of Conduct says the PestCert Advisory committees give “feedback” and “advice” to the owners … AEPMA. I am not keen on any industry scheme where some of your competitors could have a big say in whether you are to stay in business and/or the level of fees payable to such an entity for doing so.
As a pest control business you will have periodic audits by PestCert contractors of your motor vehicles and chemical storage area. And at what cost? If your general office staff provide any pesticide advice “like what pesticide you use” it must be read directly from a written script with a PestCert accredited person looking at and listening to your office personnel giving the advice.
In the September 2003 Pest Manager magazine the intrepid AEPMA President Mr Roland Hovey - he is also General Manager of AMALGAMATED PEST CONTROL, says in effect if you disagree with the presently AEPMA owned PestCert “stop supply” scheme you are asking to have SHONK stamped on your forehead.
Is this the type of INTIMIDATION you can expect from an AEPMA PestCert “stop supply” scheme initiated by people working for some of your COMPETITORS?
my mind the AEPMA does not deserve dominance over the rest of the industry
- and does not deserve ACCC backing for this “stop supply”
scheme. Attend the meeting and let them know your viewpoint.
The AEPMA was incorporated in 1988 and has NEVER attempted to bring in a tertiary qualifications system for its AEPMA membership. Let virtually anyone in and money in the bank.
The AEPMA board let through the “competency” based system (with private fee charging “assessors”) to replace the sole requirement of the independently conducted examinations of the NSW Govt TAFE course for a PCO licence – such a monumental change without an AEPMA members’ vote on the matter.
The AEPMA has collected $ millions of $ fees from members and the chemical companies over the years and has NEVER conducted an analysis / published details of various State licensing systems – their strengths / weaknesses.
The AEPMA has not called for an extra-ordinary meeting of members to change its Constitution to make PestCert a qualification for continued membership NOR as a condition for new members admission. I wonder Why?
Draft PestCert Code of Conduct threatens AEPMA members will lose their
AEPMA membership if they are denied PestCert accreditation – clause
The AEPMA own PestCert and are using AEPMA funds in a stated objective to put people out of the industry, including presumably many of it’s own members. How legal is that?
Maybe the AEPMA should get it’s house in order and establish more positive credibility before it seeks to initiate the PestCert “stop supply” scheme on the entire industry, whether or not you want to be associated with the AEPMA board.
A more positive – truly INDEPENDENT Direction ?
I believe the industry should be licensed through a totally independent body. The idea of an “independent” pest control service industry “stop supply” scheme owned by one industry group is a “contradiction in terms”, no matter what the flowery assurances we receive from the PestCert initiators.
I know of no other service industry with such ACCC “stop supply” approval. AgSafe relates to product distributors – the end user, the farmer is NOT required to be AgSafe accredited – only the sellers of the product.
Accountants do NOT have a “stop supply” ACCC approval and they require a Govt issued “licence” for preparing tax returns or signing company audits under the Companies Code, otherwise anyone can be an accountant. To call yourself a Chartered Accountant or CPA (both industry association designations) that’s a different matter.
The most efficient appropriate independent Government body, I would prefer to licence us is the Dept of Fair Trading – they handle builders, real estate agents, etc – and are seen to be totally independent - sure “private assessors or trainers” may have a role BUT with independent final examinations conducted by TAFE. We should lobby the Government / media for change.
The exam could be set by a specific committee of TAFE / Dept Fair Trading / WorkCover and 3 elected industry representatives – to ensure the exam is of a practical nature and has a high level of industry input, without having absolute control of your business future.
The licensing could involve several specific categories, say (1) TERMITE CONTROL (2) COMMERCIAL (3) FUMIGATION (4) GENERAL DOMESTIC PREMISES with a specific licence category of TECHNICAL DIRECTOR for those individuals who want to operate / manage a business for profit using pesticides.
The TECHNICAL DIRECTOR course would involve detailed knowledge of health and safety issues, government regulations as well as that of operating a business etc, etc.
For the business to employ technicians carrying out any of the four categories above, then the Technical Director would require a licence also for each particular category so employed.
A Technical Director could be required to say have at least 4 years practical experience in the industry before being eligible to sit the final exams for this level of qualification.
Anyway, these are just some suggestions in order to provoke discussion and action towards a more professional and credible pest control service industry.
letter and the contents of the website www.termite.com/pestcert editorial
is written by Glenn DuBois. If you want to follow the progress of this
matter the www.termite.com/pestcert website will
be regularly updated as to the current position and alternative
views / news regarding the AEPMA PestCert “stop supply”scheme.
What happened at the above meeting on 26th November 2003
The meeting was attended by more than 120 individuals representing mostly NSW pest controllers, some representatives from manufacturers, distributors, Dr Chris Orton of CERIT and Mr DeGroot.
This was an exceptionally large turnout considering such short notice of Meeting and the starting time 1.00 p.m. at this time of the year ... the start of the busy summer period.
The PCO's at the Meeting overwhelmingly sent a loud and clear message to the AEPMA and the other backers of the PestCert "stop supply" scheme ...
1. That they did NOT approve of the threatening intimidation tactics of the PestCert promoter Mr Ron DeGroot and AEPMA President Mr Roland Hovey.
2. That the AEPMA has an appalling track record particularly as regards its failure to regulate its own membership (lack of a tertiary qualifications criteria for its members). "The AEPMA has NO right to call itself the THE voice of the industry" was a common catch-cry. "It certainly doesn't represent me" was another.
3 . That the PestCert proposal had been “poorly thought out” by someone who did not know our industry and was sought to be hastily pushed through using the threat of putting PCO’s out of business if they did not fall into line.
4 . That the AEPMA and Mr DeGroot should disclose full details of contract(s) to develop or maintain PestCert AND all related financial dealings past, present and future promises. Mr. DeGroot stated he would not disclose such details.
5 . That the PCO’s did not want to be controlled by the AEPMA or PestCert or be forced into to pay training fees to PestCert or associated audit fees regarding motor vehicles and product storage areas.
6 . That the industry is in need of proper regulation particularly in the area of the “private assessment” system whereby some private assessors for financial rewards could give the okay for a trainee to obtain a PC license on the basis of an oral test.
7 . That the NSW Govt Department of Fair Trading would be a far better licensing authority than WorkCover.
Mr. DeGroot indicated "PestCert" was registered by him but in AEPMA’s name and that he would seek to extract PestCert as separate from the AEPMA, but could NOT say, how if AEPMA owned "PestCert" that this could be done.
Many of the speakers expressed concern about being forced to have such lengthy additional training whether they needed it or not and the associated unknown and benefit of being forced to undertake such training.
Several speakers noted they had contacted the ACCC (Contact Officer: Tania Mayrhofer 02 6243 1070) who had advised them that the ACCC has not provided support as to the PestCert “stop supply” scheme as the ACCC had not received a written submission for it to consider.
I advised the meeting that on the basis of my research there appeared to be no other service industry in Australia that has received ACCC “stop supply” authorisation as proposed by the PestCert scheme promoter. I also ventured the opinion that the chances of such a "monopoly" type private enterprise scheme had practically no chance of gaining ACCC approval.
I noted that the ACCC refused on 19 March 2003 a proposal by the Dry Cleaning Institute of Australia to restrict supply of dry cleaning solvents, even though there was no government licensing of individuals using these solvents.
I also advised the meeting that I had read the CERIT Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Proposal which requires training of individual operators for about 2 to 3 days annually, as well as office “pesticide advice” staff of 1 to 2 days average each year.
Also that I thought the CERIT draft CPD and PestCert proposals were were "ill conceived" on many grounds including the fact that they did NOT take into account the practical requirements and variances in our industry, for example, a commercial pest control technician had a completely different role and level of skill than say a termite control specialist and, thereby has different for any ongoing CPD training after becoming properly trained and licensed in the first instance.
What is needed is a truly independent statutory licensing authority to protect the consumer and reputable PC businesses from incompetent and unscrupulous pest control cowboys operating in the pest control service industry and NOT an intimidation derived scheme run by a amateurish private consortium without the appropriate credibility and independence.
Let me know what you think, regards, Glenn DuBois - email:firstname.lastname@example.org
"Keep watching for more updates...as the events unfold"