The State Government has announced a significant $24 million stimulus package for South Australia’s racing industry, to help protect local jobs and boost the industry to become more competitive.
The package includes an initial $8 million up-front payment which will be available to the three racing codes – Thoroughbred Racing SA, Greyhound Racing SA and Harness Racing SA - this month, to support the industry progress key reforms and agreed infrastructure projects.
This follows $4.85 million in assistance provided by the Government to the racing industry in 2017-18.
In addition, the racing industry will receive annual payments equivalent to 1.5 per cent of net state wagering revenue received for the betting operations tax from 2019-20. This will provide the industry with around $4 million a year, which is consistent with funding arrangements in other states that have recently introduced the betting operations tax.
Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Corey Wingard said the Government supported the important work of the racing industry as it worked to strengthen the viability of its business model.
The funding package follows concerns by the racing industry of the impact of the betting operations tax, introduced by the former Labor government on bets made by SA racing and sports fans with corporate booking agencies, which prompted counter measures by bookmakers.
“The Marshall Government has heard the concerns of the racing industry and is delivering a significant $24 million stimulus package to ensure we help protect local jobs and enable the industry to strengthen its business and become sustainable into the future,” said Minister Wingard.
“The ongoing funding is reliant on the industry implementing important governance changes which would allow it to thrive within a competitive market.
“Funding from 2022-23 is also dependent on the racing industry demonstrating that the funding has contributed to growing jobs and the economic contribution of the industry in South Australia.
“We have made it quite clear we are looking at ways to secure the state’s economic future by investing in industries that grow the economy and provide substantial benefits to the community.
“This funding will help the racing industry build the infrastructure it needs to create a viable, long-term business model which will support South Australian jobs well into the future.”
Mr Wingard acknowledged the racing industry’s claims that the industry was important to the state’s economy and supports a broad range of jobs, from trainers and jockeys to all other support staff.
The Government will conduct a funding review in 2022-23 which will focus on the contribution of the industry to the economic and employment outcomes in the state.
This review will compare the contribution of the industry to its current economic and jobs contribution, which will be informed by independent advice being commissioned by the Government.
“I have travelled across South Australia to ensure I have consulted widely with people involved within the industry,” Minister Wingard said.
“As the Treasurer has said on many occasions because of the $500m reduction in GST revenue next year, there will be no reduction in existing taxes (including the POCT) in this year’s budget.”
“It is important that all the workers within the racing industry receive the flow-on benefits of this funding boost, from the breeders, trainers, hospitality staff, and owners right through to the corporate stakeholders.”
Quotes attributable to:
Thoroughbred Racing SA chair Frances Nelson QC:
“This is a meaningful investment by Government in the industry. It will allow us to grow and that is a relief.”
Harness Racing SA Chief Executive Ross Neal:
“The State Government’s announcement is great news for the SA Harness Racing industry and it provides real stimulus for the sport in the state to move forward with certainty and confidence.”
Greyhound Racing SA Chairman Grantley Stevens
“This announcement is a significant moment and one which reflects the State Government’s understanding of the important economic, employment and social outcomes that racing produces for the broader South Australian community.”