Australia’s thoroughbreds will be given a winning edge with a new levy to develop better disease control, stronger foals and horse welfare measures.

The Rural Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) will work with the thoroughbred industry to develop and research and development plan, to commission projects that focus on reducing injury, the incidence and impact of diseases and parasites as well as improved foal development and breeding outcomes.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Coalition Government was delivering on its $1.2 million election commitment to support the thoroughbred breeding industry’s request to establish a levy.

“These projects will seek to improve the safety of those who work in the industry and the welfare of horses, including building resilience in horses in work and training, and improved breeding outcomes for stronger foals,” Minister Joyce said.

“Australia’s thoroughbred industry not only makes a sizeable contribution to our economy, generating $963 million in revenue annually, but is also an iconic part of Australian life—thoroughbred racing is our nation’s second most popular spectator spot, attracting around 2 million people each year.

“RIRDC, which has previously managed R&D for the broader horse industry, will administer funds from the new thoroughbred breeding levy, expected to generate $2.4 million for R&D over three years.”

Under the thoroughbred breeding industry’s plan, stallion owners will pay a $10 levy per mare covered per season and broodmare owners will pay a $10 levy per mare returned per season.

“The Coalition Government will work to implement the new thoroughbred breeding industry levy by 1 July 2017, and we will match industry’s own contributions dollar for dollar up to $400,000 per year.

Member for Calare Andrew Gee said it was vital to support the thoroughbreds sector to strengthen and grow, particularly in Calare where regional racing brings communities together and supports hundreds of jobs.

“I commend the thoroughbred breeding industry on actively looking to its future development, and the Coalition Government is pleased to support their plans for an R&D levy to maintain a strong, productive and profitable industry,” Mr Gee said.

Fast Facts

  •  Australia’s thoroughbred industry generates $963 million in revenue each year.
  • The peak industry body for Australia’s thoroughbred breeding industry, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, represents 3,780 individual breeders and industry participants.
  • Thoroughbred racing is the second most attended spectator sport in Australia—the Melbourne Cup alone is estimated to generate around $374.2 million in gross economic benefit.