Racing Queensland (RQ) has acknowledged the state government's announcement on how a portion of racing receipts from the 15% Point of Consumption (PoC) tax on wagering will be directed back to the Queensland racing industry.
RQ has engaged actively with government since the introduction of a POC tax was announced last year prior to implementation on Monday (1 October 2018).
A joint announcement today from Treasurer Jackie Trad and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe included commitments of:
- Ongoing financial support to RQ to ensure that the introduction of the POC tax doesn’t negatively impact Queensland’s racing industry;
- $17.8 million to write-off 50% of historical debt owed to government; and
- A one-off payment of $20 million for investment in new greyhound and harness racing facilities.
RQ Chairman Steve Wilson AM acknowledged the government’s willingness to engage on this critical issue for the viability of Queensland’s racing industry.
“Today’s announcement highlights both opportunities and challenges for racing in Queensland.
“We welcome the government’s decision to provide RQ with ongoing financial support to ensure that the POC tax doesn’t negatively impact Queensland’s racing industry.
“This support, coupled with the historical debt write-off of $17.8 million, is a step towards securing one of Racing Queensland’s key strategic goals of creating a sustainable racing industry.”
Mr Wilson said the announcement of a $20 million one-off grant payment to invest in greyhound and harness facilities was recognition of RQ’s vision to provide new, fit for purpose infrastructure for participants.
“Overall, infrastructure is critical for animal welfare, tourism, events and participation, so some strengthening of our weak balance sheet is a positive step,” he said.
“When we consulted widely with industry to formulate our infrastructure plan it was universally recognised that we need to modernise our facilities.
“The nation stops for the Melbourne Cup; now NSW is trying to compete with The Everest. We need the facilities and prize money to keep growing our successful and much-loved Winter and Summer Racing Carnivals.
“Despite increasing returns to participants by $15.2 million over the past two years RQ remains a loss-making organisation. Although we have put in place strong foundations for growth since announcing a parent company loss of $19.9 million in FY16 to a $1.2 million loss in FY18, we have much more work to do to build on this recovery.”
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said: “In my first four months in the role of CEO I have travelled to many parts of the state to listen to what our industry has to say on a range of issues.
“On the subject of the POC tax, the industry has been united in its calls for all racing receipts raised by the tax to be directed back to support racing in Queensland.”
Mr Parnell said he recognised today’s announcement would disappoint many participants and cause them to question what it means for future returns to industry.
“Racing Queensland will continue to engage with government and our commercial partners in pursuit of our plan to improve the viability of racing in Queensland, particularly comparative to the NSW and Victorian industries that continue to announce significant prize money increases,” Mr Parnell said.
Mr Parnell said RQ would now work with government to seek their support for additional funding that will support viability through increased prize money, investment in racing & events tourism and the creation of vital traineeships and apprenticeships.