Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) has worked closely with Federal and State Governments, state breeding associations and other industry groups to help the industry through the coronavirus crisis. From developing biosecurity plans for farms, guidance on how to access government assistance, persuading government to give visas and permits for overseas buyers and staff, to ensuring the free movement of horses across state borders and much more, TBA has been working hard to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the thoroughbred industry.
TBA was the driving force in the formation of an independent welfare panel (TAWWG) which is chaired by former Victorian Premier, Dr Denis Napthine. This group have been tasked with improving the outcomes for horses leaving the Australian racing and breeding industry. More than 160 submissions have been made to the panel and they are consulting extensively with a wide range of individuals and groups as they assess many suggestions put forward to improve welfare.
It is expected the panel will hand down their final report and recommendations toward the end of 2020.
R&D LEVY AND RESEARCH FUNDING
Established in 2017, the Research & Development Levy is a key TBA achievement which ensures the long-term viability of the crucial ongoing research for the Australian thoroughbred industry in areas such as disease control, welfare, reproduction and injury prevention. Administered by AgriFutures, a levy per broodmare covered ($10) and returned ($10), is matched – dollar for dollar – by the Federal Government, raising in excess of $800,000 annually. It’s important to note that advances made on the back of this research often benefit the wider horse industry.
INDUSTRY ACCESS TO VISAS FOR STAFF
The employment of skilled and experienced staff from overseas is vital to the growth our industry, but that access was compromised by Federal Government in 2017. Following extensive and forceful lobbying, TBA has ensured that farms now have the ability to employ international staff through a range of Visas, often providing a pathway to full residency.
When a vaccine crucial to protecting the broodmare population from ‘abortion storms’ became unavailable, TBA lobbied the government strongly to fast-track approval for a renewed vaccine for use in Australia. Working closely with government, TBA ensured the vaccine was available some two years ahead of initial expectations.
GST & export of horses
TBA and state breeding associations won a significant and timely victory in late 2014, convincing the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to reverse a ruling that threatened to impose GST upon yearlings purchased by overseas clients. This would have affected yearlings that would subsequently be broken-in and receive basic education, such as barrier trials. This reversal has also ensured a level playing field with New Zealand.
Cutting tariffs on export of horses to China
TBA’s sustained period of lobbying trade officials ensured that thoroughbreds were included in the Free Trade Agreement with China. As a consequence, the tariff on thoroughbred exports dropped from 10% to 6% before being fully phased out in January 2019, ensuring a level playing field with New Zealand.