The Queensland thoroughbred racing industry will receive an additional $26 million for prize money with the state government agreeing to a deal after protests by participants over the distribution of funds from the new Point Of Consumption tax.
Friday’s resolution has come too late to save Saturday’s races at Doomben where a phantom meeting will be held after an alliance representing trainers, jockeys, owners and breeders withheld nominations.
The Brisbane Racing Club will provide full catering and betting services at Doomben for racegoers to celebrate the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in Melbourne where Winx bids for an unprecedented fourth win in the $5 million race.
After crisis talks on Friday between the alliance and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, the industry will receive an immediate injection of $18 million and a further $8 million over the next six months.
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The agreement means another strike on Melbourne Cup day, which traditionally attracts a bumper crowd, has been averted.
Leading Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote has been at the forefront of the protest, saying the industry was in a desperate position compared to NSW and Victoria.
“Racing employs 40,000 people and is the third biggest industry in Queensland,” he said.
“Ten years ago we were getting 75 per cent of what NSW racing delivered in prize money and now Queensland sits at 45 per cent.”
Hinchliffe refused to confirm on Friday if the extra funds will be solely drawn from the $70 million windfall the government will receive from the 15 per cent POC tax on wagering in the state.