Report by CEO Peter McGauran
TBA has been active in representing breeders on several issues of vital importance to breeders. This has involved extensive engagement with Federal and State Government Ministers and officials on issues including AQIS fees and quarantine facilities, new breeding investment tax laws, the encroachment of coal mines on prime Hunter Valley breeding country and EI vaccination.
Priority issues include:
TBA is in close dialogue with the Federal Government on future developments surrounding the two quarantine stations at Eastern Creek (NSW) and Werribee (Vic). Spotswood has been closed on the basis of affordability to the industry for a six month trial period whilst the increased numbers of shipments through Eastern Creek are assessed. Racing Victoria’s (RVL) proposal to build a new quarantine facility at Werribee racecourse is well underway, and when completed will provide facilities to properly accommodate stallions, broodmares and racehorses in order to meet their specific stabling requirements. At the same time, the Federal Government has announced a review of the future of the Eastern Creek facility on the basis that its lease expires in 2016 (or earlier if desired) and that a new site will need to be found.
TBA has welcomed the recent announcement of support for voluntary Equine Influenza Vaccination by the Federal Minister for Agriculture Tony Burke. The power to permit vaccination, however, resides with the States not the Commonwealth, so Mr Burke’s views will not automatically hold sway. EI vaccination for Thoroughbreds occurs all around the world without difficultly or mishap and it is a matter of puzzlement in international circles why the Australian industry has been prevented from taking the necessary steps to safeguard its own future. Surveillance systems ensure that there is regular monitoring of Thoroughbreds to detect any early signs of EI and containment strategies immediately implemented. Crucially, vaccination would allow Thoroughbred horses to move during an EI outbreak enabling the continuation of racing and breeding. The experience of vaccinated populations overseas is that the majority of horses continue to travel to the races and for breeding purposes during an EI outbreak which can be confined to specific farms or stables. The Thoroughbred industry could not endure another EI outbreak without massive job losses and economic hardship. A multi billion dollar industry employing 200,000 people and providing governments with hundreds of millions of dollars in essential revenue is entitled to take measures at its own expense to safeguard its and the public's interests. There is too much at stake for this vital contributor to regional, state and national economies for its future to be decided by sectors of the horse population with no comparable economic loss in the event of another restriction on the movement of horses. Voluntary EI vaccination is essential insurance to protect the livelihoods of the more than 200,000 people working in the racing and breeding industries.
Breeders Ownership of Horses
A report released by TBA reveals that Australian breeders have paid more than $500 million in the past two years in training fees for racehorses. This figure does not include the purchase price of racehorses and the cost of breaking them in, nor the added expense of vets, farriers and other costs incurred in the upkeep of racehorses. The report establishes that breeders wholly or partly own 63% of racehorses in training. When all the percentages of racehorses owned by breeders are added together it equates to owning the equivalent of 45% of all racehorses in Australia. The report demonstrates conclusively that breeders largely underwrite racing and make a massive contribution to the income and well-being of industry participants. Breeders underpin racehorse ownership in this country and seek to play a constructive role in resolving the many issues affecting the viability and future of racing. In real numbers, 7,177 of Australia’s 8,500 thoroughbred breeders share in the ownership of more than 35,000 racehorses. Breeders also contribute in excess of $10 million annually to prizemoney through race sponsorship and state incentive schemes like BOBS, VOBIS and QTIS.
New TBA National Membership Campaign
TBA has launched a campaign to offer free associate membership to anyone with an involvement in the breeding of Thoroughbreds. TBA invites all Thoroughbred breeders to become an Associate Member of TBA free of charge in order to give grass roots breeders a greater say in the issues and policies affecting their industry. TBA strongly believes that all Thoroughbred breeders have the right to fully participate in chartering the way ahead for the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries. An industry body is only as strong as its membership who provide input and guidance we look to you for your input and guidance. Strength lies in numbers and through increased representation of breeders, TBA will have greater influence with Federal and State Governments when seeking to influence decisions on quarantine, biosecurity, taxation, animal welfare, artificial insemination, gaming revenue and trade issues amongst many others. Moreover, TBA is in constant discussions with the sales companies representing the interests of vendors on issues such as x-rays, scoping, commission rates, marketing and a proposed code of conduct. TBA membership carries no obligations and in no way affects or replaces your current or future membership of the State organizations which provide their members with a variety of financial benefits including direct contact with relevant State offices to address matters of local concern. Associate Members of TBA will also receive e-mail updates from us regarding our activities plus a copy of the TBA Annual Report. For more information regarding National and State Membership please visit our website at www.tbaus.com or call our head office on 02 9663 8444.
Tax Laws Amendment Bill 2009
The net effect of the lobbying by TBA and the National Farmers Federation (NFF) of Government Ministers after the May 2009 Budget announcement and the subsequent written submissions above was to ameliorate the worst impacts of the legislation which eventually passed through the Parliament to commence 1/7/09. However, the legislation remains as a deterrent to some current or future investors in the Thoroughbred industry given the time and expense required to justify to the Tax office the years of loss and establish the prospect of making a profit within a reasonable period of time. It can be done but unfortunately you have to jump through some hoops to get there which, in the scheme of things, means some people won't be bothered trying.
The action under the Trade Practices Act alleging restraint of trade by Bruce McHugh against the Australian Stud Book and Australian Racing Board is well underway in the Federal Court. A Court hearing is not expected until about this time next year as preliminary legal procedures such as Discovery and Interrogatories take place. Although not a party to Mr McHugh’s action, TBA is maintaining a close interest in proceedings. TBA policy is to support the ban on AI.
On these or any other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. I would welcome your views and assistance. TBA is a grass roots industry body that exists only to serve the interests of breeders regardless of size or location. Have your say.
CEO Thoroughbred Breeders Australia