News and Views

Thoroughbred horse levy at the starting gates

Thoroughbred horse breeders and the whole industry will soon have greater certainty about investment in priority long-term research and development, with a new research and development levy to begin on 1 September 2017.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the government was delivering on its $1.2 million election commitment to support the industry’s request to establish a levy, which will fund research to develop better disease control, stronger foals and horse welfare measures.

“Stallion owners will pay a levy of $10 per mare covered per season and mare owners will pay a levy of $10 per mare returned per season,” Minister Joyce said.

“The government will match industry’s own contributions up to $400,000 per year, with the levy thus expected to generate a total of $2.4 million for R&D over three years.

“The R&D levy is aimed at maintaining a strong, productive and profitable thoroughbred horse industry.

“The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) will manage the levy funds collected by industry, and work with industry to develop a research and development plan.”

Mr Joyce said the levy was an important development for Australia, home to the second largest thoroughbred breeding industry in the world, after the United States, with 660 stud farms supplying thoroughbred horses to both domestic and overseas markets.

“The industry employs 65,000 people, particularly in rural and regional areas and is worth $5 billion per annum to the Australian economy, so there’s no room for horsing around with industry risks like horse diseases.

“The levy will fund projects for the benefit of the whole industry, such as those focussed on reducing injury, the incidence and impact of diseases and parasites and improved foal development and breeding outcomes.

“It could also be used to fund research to improve the safety of industry participants and the welfare of horses; and enhance the environmental sustainability of the industry.”

As announced by RIRDC, the industry advisory group for the thoroughbred levy has been set up and met for the first time on 28-29 June 2017. Their first piece of work is developing the 5-year plan for how the thoroughbred R&D funds should be spent.

The advisory panel comprises:

  • Professor Nigel Perkins from the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland (CHAIR)
  • Jacqueline Stewart, (Keeper of the Australian Stud Book)
  • Dr Catherine Chicken (consultant to the Scone Equine Hospital on pathology and infectious disease)
  • Judith Medd (Racing and Wagering Western Australia Industry Veterinarian)
  • Derek Field (Widden Stud General Manager)
  • Tas Rielley (owner/operator of Basinghall Broodmare Farm).

Source: Australian Government

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