Racing Queensland has today announced it will provide an additional $15.5 million in funding as part of an Industry Investment Plan.
The Plan, which will benefit almost 40,000 Queensland participants, will be delivered through increased prize money and payments to jockeys and drivers, along with infrastructure grants and higher club payments.
This is in addition to $4.1 million of prize money increases delivered in August.
The Plan includes $5.25 million in grant funding to support the infrastructure requirements of the industry, with funding prioritised towards projects that have been identified as critical for club sustainability.
Participants will also be major beneficiaries, with increased prize money for greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racing, as well as an increase in breeding bonuses for thoroughbred and standardbreds.
The increases will commence on January 1, 2021, with Racing Minister Grace Grace supporting the Industry Investment Plan.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s continued support of racing has seen a significant increase in jobs and economic contribution across the state,” she said.
“Our recent renewal of the Country Racing Program ensures the delivery of further jobs and economic uplift in the regions.
“With more than 12,500 Queenslanders now employed in racing – an increase of more than 1,000 over the past two years – the Queensland racing industry continues to make a significant contribution to the state’s economy.
“Under the Industry Investment Plan, it’s pleasing to see Queenslanders will be rewarded through these increases, with jockeys and drivers incentivised to race in Queensland and further prize money directed to those at the grass roots level.”
Upon making today’s announcement, Racing Queensland Chairman Steve Wilson AM said the multi-million investment supported the organisation’s strategic objective to ensure a more sustainable future for the industry.
“It is important that we provide all participants with the confidence to continue to work and invest within the Queensland racing industry,” he said.
“As a result, we are providing strategic funding for our three codes, with a strong emphasis on commercial competitiveness at the grass roots and making Queensland attractive for all participants.
“These strategic investments are made possible thanks to the Palaszczuk Government confirming that the Country Racing Program would be renewed for two further years from 2021, as well as the strong commercial performance of RQ amidst the global pandemic.”
“With Queensland’s borders re-opening – and the eyes of the nation set to focus on our fabulous Summer Carnival – RQ is delighted to be able to offer a genuine boost to the industry after the exceptionally challenging 2020,” Mr Wilson said.
“Since 2017, we have grown returns to participants from $174 million to $223 million and are well on our way to realising our strategic ambition of $250 million. This is a way for us to say thank you to our enormous industry which spans across 112 towns in Queensland.”
While COVID-19 has significantly impacted Queensland racing clubs during 2020 – requiring extensive hardship and Winter Carnival compensation payments from RQ – the organisation continues to monitor the financial health of its clubs.
In 2020, RQ has paid out more than $8 million to clubs and the Industry Investment Plan will further increase their payments.
Mr Wilson said while the abnormal wagering market is not expected to fully continue in 2021, RQ is committed to investing in a number of infrastructure projects this financial year based on the unusual trading conditions ahead of more challenging climate in FY22.
The key initiatives as part of the $15.5 million include $5 million towards replacing critical racing assets in FY21 and $2.3 million towards increased club funding payments annually, while the code investment breakdown includes the following changes:
- $3.5 million to support key infrastructure projects in FY21 including on-course stabling to assist sustainability of clubs and horse numbers;
- $3 million per annum increase in prize money for grass roots racing including:
- Metropolitan Saturday restricted races rise from $50k to $55k;
- SEQ provincial prize money rises from $21k to $22k;
- The introduction of five SEQ showcase meetings per month at $25k per race;
- Toowoomba increase from $19k to $20k per race;
- Northern P1 races increase from $18k to $18.5k;
- $590,000 per annum to increase riding fees for jockeys from $212 per ride to $225. This will rise to $230 in FY23 as part of a new multi-year agreement; and
- $1.4 million per annum to increase the QTIS (Queensland Breeding Incentive Scheme) with the introduction of incentives for four-year-olds and to enhance QTIS Jewel day (three-year-old Jewel to $500k and addition of a fillies and mares Jewel).
- $1 million per annum in increased prize money for Queensland bred greyhounds, who race in Queensland. The first race start, first maiden win, second win and first masters win, doubling to $1k per race, shared between breeder (40%), owner (40%) and for the first time, trainers (20%).
- $700,000 per annum in increased prize money including:
- Increasing the first place prize money and increased payments from sixth to last to $300 for all races carrying prize money of $12,000 or more; and
- Increasing and elevating mares feature races including a $100,000 Group 1 feature during the Constellations carnival in July.
- $250,000 per annum to increase driver fees from $60 to $70 per drive (up from $45 two years ago);
- $600,000 per annum to be injected into the QBRED incentive breeding scheme (first-win bonus to rise from $10k to $12k) and enhance the 3YO Triads; and
The Industry Investment Plan is in addition to recent prize money and infrastructure allocations.
- In June, the Race Meeting Injury Scheme was introduced for greyhounds, providing an additional $220,000 to support serious racing injuries;
- In August, metropolitan mid-week maiden prizemoney rose from $27,500 to $35,000 ($800k), while Northern P1 races are now run at $18k per race and include additional programmed races at Thursday, Friday and Sunday P1 meetings delivering an additional $1.6 million per annum for thoroughbreds;
- In August, additional greyhound race meetings were announced for Capalaba and Townsville. The prize money and appearance fees will see an additional $1.7 million in returns to participants;
- In September, the Government approved the business case for the $38 million Gold Coast Turf Club tracks and lights project;
- In May, the replacement of the Sunshine Coast synthetic track was confirmed while in October, it was announced the Racing Infrastructure Fund would enable new tie-up stalls to be constructed in Townsville; and
- In October 2019, funding was announced for the $39 million Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre which will include three world-class tracks located south of Ipswich with a strong focus on animal care.