Key players in the Queensland racing industry are planning to strike on two major race days in protest at the lack of state government support.
The action has been brought on by industry fury at the new Point of Consumption tax distribution.
The state government introduced the tax on Monday and announced money collected would be allocated to infrastructure, clearing a debt and the reimbursement to the TAB under a commercial deal.
Industry figures believed the government should follow NSW and Victoria and allocate money for prize money increases.
A letter was sent at 7am on Friday to the state treasurer Jackie Tradd and Racing Minister Sterling Hinchliffe threatening strike action on Cox Plate day, October 27, and Melbourne Cup day, November 6.
The reported “stand down” would be at Doomben, the Gold Coast and Toowoomba but at this stage would not involve country areas.
The move has the backing of the associations representing trainers, jockeys, owners, and breeders and they all signed the letter.
The letter expresses disappointment not just at the POC distribution but also general support for the industry from the Queensland government.
It calls for urgent help with prize money and overall infrastructure.
“With the advancement of racing in the southern states leaving us far behind, with that we have been seeing the demise of our own industry. Currently the only positive reason we can offer to have a horse raced in Queensland compared to NSW or Victoria is our weather,” the letter said in part.
“We understand the reality is we probably never will be as strong as the other states, but whilst we keep losing ground at such a rapid rate the snowball effect will take place and we could soon see our industry plummet to the lows like which are currently seen in Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand.”
The industry letter said it had taken the approach that discussion and negotiation was no longer viable.
“The only way we can make our point is unfortunately through industrial action which is being requested vocally by our participants,” it said.
Trainers’ secretary Cameron Partington said the strike action was a result of two decades of government inactivity to support racing.
A Racing Queensland spokesman said it was not possible to comment until RQ had been able to peak with all parties concerned.
Hinchliffe is currently on holidays.
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