Queensland’s racing minister will hold urgent talks with industry chiefs in a bid to head off industrial action that could ruin Melbourne Cup day for punters.
Racing bodies have threatened strikes on Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup days unless the industry is promised a slice of Queensland’s new gambling tax.
They want an ongoing percentage of the tax to boost prize pools, to match what is on offer interstate.
But the state government insists a new greyhound track and another for harness racing, collectively worth $20 million and funded by the tax, is a big enough kick for the industry.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the industry also gets other help from Queensland taxpayers.
“We give millions of dollars every year to the racing industry,” she said on Monday.
“There is a substantial amount of the … (gambling) tax going back to the racing industry. We’ve also forgiven half of their debt as well, I mean, we are taking a lot of measures here.”
The change means betting houses that have headquarters overseas or interstate must now pay 15 per cent tax on all bets placed in the state.
Revenue from the tax, which came into effect last week, will also pay off $17.8 million Racing Queensland owes the state government.
And it will fund infrastructure works at Eagle Farm, Doomben and Bundamba, and support gambling addiction support services.