A strike threatening to derail Queensland’s spring racing season has been averted after the state government agreed to boost funding for prize money.
Following meetings on Friday between the Thoroughbred Alliance and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, Queensland thoroughbred races will receive an extra $26 million in prize money over the next six months.
The deal involves an immediate $18 million injection and a further $8 million in six months.
The deal comes too late to salvage Saturday’s races at Brisbane’s Doomben, Gold Coast, Townsville and Toowoomba, which were cancelled after trainers, owners, jockeys and breeders began striking over the way race meetings are funded.
But the remainder of meetings for this year’s spring carnival will now go ahead.
Queensland’s major horse racing clubs had earlier said they’d lost confidence in the government’s handling of the industry.
They argued a new 15 per cent tax on wagering wouldn’t be returned to thoroughbred racing, despite it making up 75 per cent of all wagering income.
An open letter to the government by clubs argued prize money for Saturday metro meetings were 45 per cent of Sydney’s level.
“It’s sad to watch the Queensland government sit idle as our southern counterparts show us how it’s done,” the letter read.
The state’s sole metropolitan race meet for Sunday is still scheduled to go ahead on the Sunshine Coast.