Thoroughbred industry welcomes government levy pledge

The federal government has approved the use of commonwealth funds for an industry led research and development levy.

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the government is committed to supporting the thoroughbred breeding industry.

“The breeding and racing industry is something that is very important to regional Australia,” he said.

“The breeders made it very clear to me that this levy was something they needed and I went in to bat for it in Cabinet. There was some opposition but I’m glad I was able to deliver on it.

“This levy will provide the industry with greater certainty about available funding in future years and enable forward-year planning to deliver benefits for the whole industry.”

Under the levy, which was included in last week’s budget and will be in place in the new financial year, breeders will pay $10 per mare and $10 per stallion return.

This will be put in a fund for Research and Development, with the federal government then matching every industry dollar.

The industry believes this could lead to more than $1million being spent each year on research that benefits the thoroughbred breeding industry.

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) chief executive Tom Reilly said the government’s commitment was the culmination of years of lobbying efforts.

“Getting the government to commit to this important levy was something the TBA board made clear was a priority when I joined the organisation,” he said.

“We are in the process of selecting the board which will oversee the spending of the funds and there will be a strong presence of breeders to ensure the money goes towards projects that return real benefits to the breeding industry.”

Such schemes are common in agriculture with many areas of primary production, such as cotton, beef and grains, all receiving dollar for dollar funding from the government in this way.

Among the areas likely to be the focus of research are the prevention and management of exotic and indigenous diseases, improving the conception rates of mares and stallions and efforts to reduce foetal loss caused by contagious diseases.