Threats of strike action by the Queensland racing industry on Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate Days have eased, but the industry is warning it still wants a resolution to its dispute with the state government over the new betting tax.
An alliance of various racing bodies including jockeys, trainers and thoroughbred breeders is calling for a part of the government’s new Point of Consumption tax to be given to the racing industry.
Following a two-hour meeting with the government on Tuesday, the industry group announced on Friday it had put strike plans on hold.
“We feel this provides the best atmosphere to obtain the most beneficial result to our financially challenged racing industry,” Cameron Partington from the Australian Trainers Association Queensland said in a statement.
The government on Friday welcomed the move, with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad saying it was in the best interests of all stakeholders.
However Mr Partington clarified strike action was not off the table, and was dependant entirely on the new deal the government came up with.
The tax would see betting houses with headquarters overseas or interstate forced to pay 15 per cent tax on all bets placed in Queensland.
NSW has introduced a similar tax at 10 per cent while Victoria has it at eight per cent, with both of those state’s allocating a portion of the earnings to roll back into the racing industry.
Queensland instead is offering a new greyhound track and another for harness racing, collectively worth $20 million funded by the tax.
The racing industry wants a portion of the funds to be used to fund extra prize money for thoroughbred racing on an ongoing basis.
The government has maintained it already provides the industry with millions of dollars in direct funding – almost $190 million since 2015 – including an unprecedented $70 million country racing package delivered in the budget in June.