Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) today announces it will provide an additional $16 million in funding to the State’s racing industry for the 2020/21 season.
This commitment will see a total of $180 million in distribution, grants and subsidies ($165.9M budgeted in FY2020) provided directly to WA racing participants, as well as an additional $2.3 million towards animal welfare initiatives and a digital platform to benefit the industry.
The significant increase includes $8 million in grants to support the infrastructure needs of the industry, with funding being allocated towards projects identified as critical for the continuation of racing.
In an effort to grow interest and revenue streams for the industry, $1 million of the additional funding will go towards the development of a digital platform to promote the State’s racing product. The platform will provide customers with easy access to all relevant information about Western Australian racing.
RWWA remains committed to ensuring the best levels of care are provided to its racing animals during all stages of their lives, with 22% ($1.37 million) of the increase earmarked towards the rollout of RWWA’s greyhound and equine welfare initiatives.
Owners will also be major beneficiaries of the additional funding, with increases in prizemoney for greyhounds and thoroughbreds, as well as an increase in breeding bonuses for harness racing, set to commence on 25 September 2020.
RWWA General Manager Racing Charlotte Mills said the increase forms part of RWWA’s strategic objectives to ensure a sustainable future for the Western Australian racing industry.
“RWWA remains committed to implementing strategic funding initiatives across the three codes, with a strong emphasis on ownership and participation, commercial competitiveness and animal welfare,” Ms Mills said.
“With the impact of COVID-19 during the last season, it is important that we provide our participants, in particular owners, with the confidence to continue to invest in the Western Australian racing industry.”
RWWA has also committed to conducting a mid-year review in January 2021 for race clubs to ascertain the impact COVID-19 has had on each individual club.
“It is appreciated that the restrictions as a result of COVID-19 have had an impact on our race clubs, with some unable to conduct race meetings and others only able to proceed with no patrons on-course,” Ms Mills said.
“RWWA has maintained ongoing contact with clubs to ensure we are across any substantial financial impacts, both during COVID-19, and now as we operate under the Phase 4 restrictions.”
“Once we receive each club’s annual reports, RWWA will be able to better understand the full impact COVID-19 has had on club finances, and address any required support.”
The key initiatives as part of the $16 million increase in funding for 2020/21 include:
- $1.29 million increase in equine welfare funding to support the rollout of the WA Racehorse Welfare Plan, to ensure the best levels of care are provided to racehorses during all stages of their lives.
- $1 million towards a digital platform to further promote the Western Australian racing product.
- $1.85 million for track enhancements to elevate existing racing welfare standards.
- $1 million boost in prizemoney for provincial and country stakes, to increase returns to owners and trainers.
- $970,000 towards additional club and vision funding to accommodate the full season of Sunday racing.
- $81,000 to the greyhound track injury rebate, full recovery, dental and sterilisation
- $1.81 million will be committed to the Westbred incentive scheme:
- $300,000 will go towards extending the Westbred bonus to owners of horses who have their first win as a four-year old plus;
- $440,000 towards increasing the First Win Owners and Breeders Bonus to $3,000; and
- $330,000 towards the anticipated increase in 3YO Westbred payments for the remainder of the calendar year due to Harness Racing Australia’s decision to extend the 2019/20 racing season.
- $740,000 increase to meet the higher frequency of Westbred winners encountered over the last 12 months.
- $570,000 towards key infrastructure projects, identified as being critical to the continuation of harness racing.
- $100,000 towards on-course vision subsidies.
- $5.55 million towards key infrastructure projects, identified as being critical to the continuation of thoroughbred racing.
- $1.22 million increase in prizemoney for Outer Provincial A race meetings, as part of the second phase of RWWA’s thoroughbred stakes strategy to generate more sustainable returns for trainers and owners specific to the Albany, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Mt Barker regions.
- $420,000 in funding to allow for an increase in jockey race ride and trial fees as part of the second year of a three-year agreement, as well to account for the increase in workers compensation premiums.
- $110,000 towards on-course vision subsidies.