The fate of government funding for parts of the racing industry hangs in the balance, with the Greens arguing to withdraw public funds.
A five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) over public funding for the thoroughbred and harness racing industries is due to expire.
In 2018, the Greens successfully pushed to ban Greyhound racing in the ACT and it is feared that they will once again succeed in thwarting the racing industry’s future.
The Canberra Racing Club has countered the Greens’ opposition by stating that the industry is worth $40m over five years, with an annual $20m in wagering taxes paid to the ACT government.
Matthew Kolek, acting chief executive of Canberra Racing Club, told Racenet: “The racing industry is an important part of the ACT economy.
“The thoroughbred racing industry in the ACT is responsible for generating in excess of $55 million in value added economic contribution to the Territory each year.
“We are also responsible for sustaining over 400 full time equivalent jobs in the ACT and provide a facility that is utilised by a variety of different community groups across the ACT.
“Continuing the MOU will assist us in delivering further benefits to equine welfare while helping us diversify our revenue further.
“We’ve got a range of different revenue diversification options on the table, one of which is continuing with our precinct redevelopment, which we hope to progress in the next five years.
“We‘re hoping to redevelop the whole area that we have in Lyneham, looking to have some residential and commercial areas and upgrade our facilities for participants.”
“We are a progressive industry leader in equine welfare and have an opportunity as a one-track Principal Racing Authority to set the standard.
“There are a range of measures we will be looking at progressing under the MOU including equine traceability in the ACT.
“We are also fortunate that we are a financial contributor to Team Thoroughbred a rehoming scheme for retired thoroughbreds set up by Racing NSW.
“Indeed, the Canberra Racing Club and Racing NSW are the only two jurisdictions that currently have a local rule prohibiting a thoroughbred from being sent to an abattoir or knackery.”
“Indeed, the Canberra Racing Club and Racing NSW are the only two jurisdictions that currently have a local rule prohibiting a thoroughbred from being sent to an abattoir or knackery,” said Kolek.