Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) has today announced an annual boost in funding to the State’s racing industry of more than $10 million for the 2021-22 season.

A further $30.7 million has been earmarked towards infrastructure projects to ensure the industry’s ongoing sustainability. Projects include the re-development of the Bunbury Turf Club, which will create a state-of-the-art training and racing facility within the South West region.

Inclusive in the infrastructure funding is a $2.5 million grants pool, which will allow race clubs to apply for financial assistance towards minor projects.

In a concerted effort to ensure the wellbeing of the State’s racing animals, 1% of total advertised prizemoney on all Western Australian races will be allocated to animal welfare initiatives, from 1 August 2021. This will be in addition to RWWA’s existing budget, representing a total combined investment in animal welfare of more than $5.8 million for the year.

RWWA’s focus for the season will be to continue to deliver strategic initiatives that drive greater returns on investment for participants. This includes an uplift in funding of $1.4 million in prizemoney on all listed thoroughbred races to a minimum of $125,000 and the removal of acceptance fees for races of less than $150,000, to elevate the status of WA racing’s black type features as well as reduce costs to participants. Feature listed races at provincial venues will increase to $150,000, including the Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Northam and Pinjarra Cups, together with the feature sprint events at these venues.

The increase follows on from RWWA’s thoroughbred stakes strategy, which saw a boost in prizemoney applied to metropolitan midweek and inner provincial racetracks over the past three years, with an additional $880,000 also included in next season’s budget for the full year impact of the outer provincial and country stakes increases that was introduced in May 2021.

A further $2.5 million will be invested into the Westspeed Platinum and EPONA breeding incentive schemes as part of RWWA’s earlier announced commitment to enhance the local breeding industry by delivering an additional $6.8 million in funding for the schemes between FY21 to FY23.

More than $1.4 million will be directed into thoroughbred marketing and ownership initiatives aimed at both engaging new audiences into racing through The Races WA brand, as well as rewarding and supporting current owners and participants.

The greyhound code will receive a $250,000 commitment for additional races to accommodate the existing racing population, $150,000 allocated to marketing and ownership initiatives, as well as an additional $120,000 towards welfare subsidies.

The harness code will receive $460,000 assigned to marketing initiatives in an effort to revitalise the code and an additional $160,000 will go towards the newly introduced superannuation payments for drivers.

Under a new media rights agreement for harness, greyhound and non-metropolitan thoroughbred race clubs, a further $3.3M will be allocated to club funding.

RWWA’s Chief Executive Officer Ian Edwards said he was pleased to be able to deliver another year-on-year increase for the Western Australian racing industry.

“Throughout the current season we have continued to be faced with challenges with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but as an industry we have remained resilient and maintained a solid financial position,” Ian said.

“As a result, we are pleased to once again deliver record funding levels to the industry for the 2021-22 racing season.”

“Infrastructure funding is essential to ensure the on-going viability of the industry, which is why RWWA will be heavily investing in key projects that will protect the continuation of racing into the future.”

“A major focus for this year’s season is not only to drive a strong racing industry, but to also ensure we continue to provide a high level of care to the State’s racing animals.”

“The prizemoney contribution by participants towards welfare initiatives will assist RWWA in further elevating the current standards for the equine and canine athletes of the industry.”