Brett Kitching
Brett Kitching Sarah Harvey

Varying views on controversial racing tax

THE public debate and controversy over the recently announced Point of Consumption (POC) tax on wagering has highlighted the different community, government and industry views in relation to elements of racing.

The POC tax is basically on Queensland racing wagering and has been set at 15%, around double the level of southern states.

The Government has not fully declared the extent of allocation POC revenue to Racing Queensland (RQ).

It has however pledged in the first year to forego debt owed by RQ, and to provide contributions to infrastructure.

The total of these initial contributions may well be the total of the first year's collections of POC tax as this number is as yet unknown.

The Government has also promised ongoing contributions to racing in Queensland, although it has stopped short of promising funding for a prize money increase, as well as stopping short of declaring all POC returns going back to racing.

The Queensland Racing Industry enviously watches the prize money growth of southern states NSW and Victoria.

The past two weekends have evidenced that growth including the $13 million Everest at Randwick, $5m Caulfield Cup and a greyhound race in Sydney on the weekend with a $1m prize.

The biggest race in Queensland is the Stradbroke Handicap, which in 2018 carried a $1.5m prize.

The result of the absence of a pledge from the Government of definitive prize money increases in future is the looming threat of a strike by Queensland Racing participants in Queensland on Cox Plate Day and Melbourne Cup Day.

From the Government's point of view, one would point back to early 2012.

At that time, just prior to a change in Government and Control Body, RQ had a history of stable financial management with a significant bank balance and an infrastructure pool of approximately $100m - planned to be spent amongst the three codes of racing.

This infrastructure pool was basically developed through an agreement with the State Government to halve existing wagering taxes for a four-year period, retaining those monies to improve facilities in all three codes.

During the ensuing three years to June 2015, most of the infrastructure pool was spent with the notable exceptions to the original plan.

These included the Ipswich Turf Club as the only TAB designated thoroughbred club along with the greyhound and harness codes to receive nil from the pool of funds.

Additionally, the RQ Balance Sheet turned from millions in the bank to millions in debt, a trend of losses that has continued with the control body up until the financial year recently ended.

On this basis, it would appear a reasonable question for those from a non-racing point of view to ask why the government would commit to unknown further future funding to a body which has, and continues to operate at a loss - a very different situation to the last time the incumbent State Government agreed to provide a specific slice of wagering tax to the industry.

Minimal strike impact on Ipswich

THE impact of proposed strike action on Ipswich racing is minimal as there is no racing at Ipswich this Saturday, Cox Plate Day.

Additionally, Ipswich is the only club of TAB designated Queensland clubs that is not programmed to race on the first Tuesday in November.

It is the eighth consecutive year of Melbourne Cup luncheons at ITC without racing and the venue has been well attended each year.

200 nominations from weather havoc

THE recent wet weather in South East Queensland has created havoc with the racing programs. Meetings have been lost at Doomben (2), Ipswich (2), Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Warwick, and Sunshine Coast (1.5) with trainers becoming desperate as a result to give their gallopers a run.

Evidence of this situation is the nomination of in excess of 200 runners for Wednesday's scheduled Ipswich meeting.

Dream dashed

FAVOURITE Kings Will Dream stumbled out of the gates almost dislodging the rider as the Caulfield Cup went to the Godolphin trained topweight Best Solution on Saturday in the first of the "big three'' in Melbourne.

Winx aims for a fourth consecutive Cox Plate this week and the Flemington Melbourne Cup Carnival follows.

Next meetings

Weather permitting, there is racing at Ipswich on Wednesday, then Friday, November 2.

A Melbourne Cup luncheon is on at the Ipswich Turf Club on Tuesday, November 6, before racing on Thursday, November 8.