Investment plan to grow Queensland racing

Queensland racing participants are set to receive an additional $28.9 million in funding over the next two years as part of an Investment Growth Plan.

The Plan, which was announced by Racing Minister Grace Grace this morning and made possible through the Palaszczuk Government’s budget commitment of returning 35% of Point of Consumption taxes back to the racing industry, will be delivered through increased prize money, along with infrastructure grants and improved club funding.

It is in addition to the $7.5 million of prize money and riding and driving fee increases delivered by Racing Queensland in January.

The Plan includes additional grant funding to support the infrastructure requirements of the industry, with funding prioritised towards projects that have been identified as critical for club sustainability.

Participants will also be major beneficiaries, with increased prize money for thoroughbred, greyhound and harness racing, as well as an increase in breeding bonuses for thoroughbreds and standardbreds.

“The Investment Plan will benefit almost 40,000 Queensland participants,” the Minister said.

“It will be delivered through increased prize money from 1 September 2021, along with infrastructure grants and improved club funding and allow us to support more jobs as part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery from COVID-19.”

Following today’s announcement, Racing Queensland Chairman Steve Wilson AM said the multi-million dollar investment supported the organisation’s strategic objective to ensure a more sustainable future for the industry.

“It is important that we provide all participants with the confidence to continue to work and invest within the Queensland racing industry,” he said.

“As a result, we are providing strategic funding for our three codes, with a strong emphasis on commercial competitiveness at the grass roots and making Queensland attractive for all participants.

“These strategic investments are made possible thanks to the Palaszczuk Government confirming a return from the betting tax – as well as the Country Racing Program being renewed for two further years.

“Since 2017, we have grown annual returns to participants from $174 million to $271 million and we are well on our way to realising our revised upwards strategic ambition of $280 million.

“This is a way for us to say thank you to our enormous industry which spans across almost 120 towns in Queensland.

“We continue to drive our substantial industry to grow across the whole state to our goal of connecting Queenslanders through great racing and events. Prior to COVID, racing was the number one community event in 62 towns and cities across the Sunshine State.”

Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said the investments were being staged across two financial years, having experienced revenue pressures due to the conclusion of the Queensland TAB minimum payment guarantee last December.

“We want to give Queensland participants the confidence to invest longer term in our racing and breeding industries as we strive to be more competitive with other jurisdictions,” he said.

“Also creating great first-win experiences for horse owners is central to the Investment Growth Plan, which will provide a prize money boost for all TAB maidens in thoroughbred racing and increased QBRED first-win bonuses in harness racing.”

The key initiatives as part of the $28.9 million, include almost $5 million towards replacing critical racing assets in FY22 and FY23 and more than $3 million per annum increase in club operational funding.

A further $6 million per annum will be provided to support funding programs such as the training track subsidy scheme and industry viability funding for greyhound and harness racing which expired on June 30, 2021.