Racing at Doomben, Gold Coast, Townsville and Toowoomba for Cox Plate Day has been cancelled.Protest action by thoroughbred racing industry owners, jockeys, trainers and breeders will derail the start of Queensland’s spring racing season as the battle with the state government over a new 15 per cent betting tax heats up.
Their unresolved anger over how the proceeds of the tax will be spent by the government has resulted in cancelled race meetings at Doomben, Gold Coast, Townsville and Toowoomba for Cox Plate Day on Saturday.
Racing Queensland called the meetings off because not enough trainers nominated for events due to their protest.
n Trainers Association spokesman Cameron Partington said an alliance of owners, jockeys, trainers and breeders wanted some of the tax revenue to boost race prize money so they can better compete against NSW and Victorian racing.
“When the announcement that zero of it was going to thoroughbred racing … that’s when we started our protest,” Mr Partington told AAP on Wednesday.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the government had worked on developing avenues to support increased prize money to avoid the action at Queensland’s TAB race meetings.
“Unfortunately we haven’t been able to avert Saturday’s planned action, but that doesn’t mean we’re not working closely with industry,” he said.
Queensland struggles to compete with other states as the prize pool is smaller and it pays out prizes for first to fourth place, while NSW pays first to 10th and Victoria pays first to eighth position.
Mr Partington said the Queensland government had neglected the racing industry for 20 years and the sector wanted a fair portion of the projected $70 million first-year revenue from the new point-of-sale tax directed to the industry for use as prize money.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government hadn’t neglected the racing industry and had invested over $190 million into the sector since being elected in 2015.
Mr Partington said the government had 10 days to respond before their protest action would affect planning for Melbourne Cup day race meetings.
Mr Hinchliffe has vowed to continue working with racing participants.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander said the amount given to Queensland racing left it uncompetitive compared to NSW and Victoria, where governments were returning about $80 million back to the racing industry.
“The thoroughbreds have basically got nothing out of this deal,” he told reporters.
Non-TAB covered meetings at Isisford, Gympie, Gladstone, Charleville, Clifton and Richmond will go ahead.