Jenny - Clean


QUEENSLAND Trainers’ Association chairman Ross Shannon has reacted to the ALP pre-election pledge of $70 million to country racing with a plea to his members and stakeholders of all political persuasion to seek similar (or even better) commitments from the LNP, One Nation or other Independents.

“We all need to ensure that this commitment by the ALP is not scuttled should the Government change on voting day,” he said. 

“The key facts are that two years ago the ALP committed $21 million over four years.

“There is now two years to run and there was still a gap which RQ had to fill in order to fully fund country racing prizemoney when the initial $21 million ran out.

“RQ Board and the country racing representatives put a proposal for further funding from Government for a more thorough focus on country racing and the flow-on benefits to local communities in rural and remote areas – and we got the result” said Mr Shannon.

Racing Queensland said the ALP commitment would fully fund the cost of Country non-TAB thoroughbred racing for Queensland.

The $21 million country racing support package only partially funded non-TAB thoroughbred racing.

RQ CEO Dr Eliot Forbes said the $70 million would provide security for country racing. He indicated $10 million would be set aside for capital works.

“While we have seen a significant financial turn-around in the past 12 months, RQ is still a loss-making organisation and we cannot become sustainable and maintain this level of non-TAB thoroughbred racing without support.

“I understand the importance of country racing to the social fabric of many regional and rural communities. During the recent RQ state-wide roadshow I met many of the passionate and dedicated club volunteers and participants who contribute to the industry. We haven’t yet seen the detail from Queensland Labor but we believe $10 million of the total commitment over four years would be for capital works.”

Dr Forbes said that with non-TAB racing fully funded, $8 to $10 million per annum could be redirected from the RQ budget back into industry support and prizemoney for TAB races.

“The total package would allow us to redirect funds from non-commercially viable operations into areas that will drive wagering, improve the racing product, and boost returns for all.

“We recognise that our prize money levels need to be competitive with interstate markets and this money would help to address that and improve returns to all stakeholders including owners, trainers and jockeys.”

The racing industry generates $1.2 billion in economic activity and employs or engages around 42,000 individuals in Queensland. More than 47% of the economic value is realised in regional parts of the State.

Country and non-TAB racing in Queensland impacts over 100 country towns conducting more than 260 race meetings and Queensland has the highest proportion of non-TAB racing in Australia, which comes at a significant cost.


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