Racing Australia Annual Report 2018

14 | RACING AUSTRALIA ANNUAL REPORT 2018 CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT Thoroughbred racing is one of Australia’s oldest sports, but it is also a major economic activity contributing to national economic growth, jobs and government revenues. Racing’s contribution is highlighted in the first national economic assessment of the industry since 2007. Commissioned by Racing Australia, the study which covers all sectors of the industry and profiles of each State and Territory reveals Thoroughbred racing: • contributes $9,153.2 million to the economy; • pays $800 million in State and Federal taxes; • supports 71,937 jobs – more than 50% in regional Australia; and • generates $6,294.3 million in direct expenditure. A copy of the report can be found at: These results are a tribute to the dedication and professionalism of people working at stables, studs and tracks and for the race clubs and Principal Racing Authorities, across Australia. Over the past year, Racing Australia has continued to support these efforts including by working with government to focus attention on the industry’s ongoing skills shortages, the importance of a co-ordinated effort to boost training in areas of critical shortage and the need for continued access to visas until skilled local staff can be employed. On 1 August 2017 the Trainers and Owners reforms commenced. These reforms aim to provide greater certainty in the relationship between owners and trainers and to encourage on-time payment of training fees. They also introduced a streamlined process to resolve payment issues. Racing Australia understands the need to improve ease of access to the services we provide. During the past year, Foal Ownership Declarations went online and we continually strive to further improve technology to make it easier for the industry to engage with us. An ongoing project to update the presentation of the Australian Rules of Racing neared completion during the year. This will be the first change in format since 1998 and is aimed at improving access and understanding of our national rules. It is expected the revised format will be published in early 2019. Recent rule changes strengthening Thoroughbred ownership and location information, from birth to retirement, continues to improve integrity and welfare across the industry. It also proves useful in offering factual information to the broader community to refute the false claims of industry critics. The opening of Racing Australia’s Equine Genetics Research Centre at Scone, NSW, will improve the DNA typing of Thoroughbred foals which underpins the integrity of the breed and our sport. The addition to the Racing Australia team of an equine geneticist, Dr Natasha Hamilton, as the Centre’s inaugural Director also ensures it has the capability to undertake research into genetic disorders in horses. Racing Australia currently funds research into Thoroughbreds in two ways: • directly through its Research and Development Fund which makes available financial support to research projects aimed at improving the health, welfare or performance of Thoroughbred horses; and • indirectly through the AgriFutures’ Thoroughbred Horses fund where, in addition to collecting the levy on behalf of breeders, Racing Australia also contributes $150,000 annually. Over the year Racing Australia also worked with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to ensure that, while maintaining Australia’s strong biosecurity and quarantine systems, racehorse movements were resumed. Since 2011 the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, chaired by Bob Charley AO, has been a national responsibility for Racing Australia and every year it recognises those individuals and horses who have made significant contributions to Australian racing. Currently Mr Charley is leading a separate project to identify those who, in the nineteenth century, contributed to the foundations of our sport. Racing Australia is committed to ensuring Thoroughbred racing is best equipped to continue to provide world class racing to Australians. Barry O’Farrell Chief Executive Officer RACING AUSTRALIA UNDERSTANDS THE NEED TO IMPROVE EASE OF ACCESS TO THE SERVICES WE PROVIDE. DURING THE PAST YEAR, FOAL OWNERSHIP DECLARATIONS WENT ONLINE AND WE CONTINUALLY STRIVE TO FURTHER IMPROVE TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR THE INDUSTRY TO ENGAGE WITH US. Barry O’Farrell, Chief Executive Officer