Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP) says it’ll spend $1 million on 20 extra country race meetings if it wins government.
LNP leader Campbell Newman made the promise as he addressed the South East Country Racing Association on Wednesday at Eagle Farm racecourse in Brisbane.
He said the funding kick would recognise that country racing was the lifeblood of the industry.
Newman said the Labor government had focused too much on city race meetings and country clubs were struggling to hold meetings and feature race days.
“Given the right settings, sensible policies and some encouragement, the LNP will ensure country racing has a real future,” he said.
“… without country racing where would our horses and jockeys get a start?
“This is why our million-dollar-per-year incentive plan is a good start.”
The money also recognised the enormous challenge the industry has struggled with in recent years, like equine influenza, Hendra virus and flooding, he said.
Deputy opposition leader Tim Nicholls said about 250 country race meetings had been cut since 2004.
Racing industry representatives at the meeting brought up other issues affecting the industry, including a desire for government money to pump up prize money.
Newman said he could not promise funds for that but said he understood something needed to be done.