Port Lincoln Racing Club raises stimulus questions

INVESTMENT: Greg Fitzgerald said investment should focus on major horse training centres, including in Port Lincoln.
INVESTMENT: Greg Fitzgerald said investment should focus on major horse training centres, including in Port Lincoln.

The Port Lincoln Racing Club is hopeful the recent announcement of a stimulus package for South Australia's racing industry will safeguard thoroughbred racing through measures including increased prize money.

The government announced on June 8 it would commit to a $24 million stimulus package for the racing industry to protect local jobs and help the industry become more competitive.

The package includes an initial $8 million up-front payment to be available this month for the three racing codes - thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing.

Recreation, Sport and Racing Minister Corey Wingard said the package followed concerns by the racing industry on the impact of the betting operations tax.

Port Lincoln Racing Club chairman Greg Fitzgerald said any investment was welcomed but there was not a clear picture of how much the thoroughbred racing industry would receive from the up-front payment.

He said the number of horses drove the employment in the industry, from owners, trainers and their staff to those who make and sell fodder.

"There's a great need for infrastructure upgrades at a number of racetracks and a need for the industry to increase prize-money at racetracks to provide incentive for the people who breed horses, the people own and race horses and the people who train horses," he said.

"The core of the number of employees is the number of horses."

Mr Fitzgerald said investment needed to focus on major training centres, such as Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Mount Gambier and central locations such as Gawler and Murray Bridge, because it would then spill out to other areas.

The government will conduct a funding review in 2022-23 to focus on the contribution the industry has to economic and employment outcomes in the state.

Mr Fitzgerald said the uncertainty past 2023 provided the thoroughbred industry a chance for it to review its business models to see what changes were needed to move it into the future.

Comments