TASMANIA’S racing industry received a major boost yesterday with the announcement the Government will inject a further $660,000 into prizemoney as a result of a higher than expected return from the point of consumption tax that came into effect in January.
Racing Minister Jane Howlett said the funding boost to stakes is on top of the three per cent increase ($660,000) delivered in June.
“This six per cent total stakes increase will greatly assist Tasmania’s racing participants particularly following the impact of COVID-19 on the industry,” Ms Howlett said.
“At the last election our Government committed to increasing stakes by an average of four per cent a year and, with today’s commitment, we will have already increased stakes by 12.2 per cent.
“Tasmania’s racing industry injects around $103 million a year into the state’s economy and supports jobs in rural and regional areas, with over 5,000 Tasmanians directly participating in the industry.
The stakes increases are expected to be delivered in September after Tasracing has consulted with the three code bodies.
“Tasracing will be consulting with the three codes over coming weeks to determine the exact distribution of stakes across the racing program for 2020/21 and it is expected that the new stake money levels will be in place by late September.”
Devonport Pacing Club chairperson Claire McDonald said the announcement of a significant stakes increase will help greatly as the industry recovers from the shutdown that halted racing in the state for almost three months.
“This announcement of a further increase in stakes is just what the industry needed,” McDonald said.
It was a similar reaction from greyhound industry representative Sharon Jones.
“Greyhound racing really suffered from the shutdown, but this stakes increase will definitely help ease the pain,” Ms Jones said.
“It now appears that we can see clear light at the end of the tunnel.”
Hall of Fame thoroughbred trainer Bill Ryan was delighted with the news.
“The only way this industry is going to survive is if we keep pumping money into stakes and this latest injection will help enormously,” Ryan said.
Tasracing director Robyn Whishaw said the next step will determine how the added stakes allocation will be distributed.
“Tasracing will convene meetings with each of the code bodies to discuss the make-up of the increases and the plan is to have the increases in place by sometime next month,” Ms Whishaw said.
Watch the Minister’s announcement below: