It’s a well worn axiom that Australia has ridden through history on the horse’s back and that the thoroughbred industry remains one of the country’s largest employers.
However, it’s not all Melbourne Cups and Golden Slippers with the breeding industry itself responsible for a near $1.2 billion contribution to the economy and nearly 9,500 full-time employees.
Studies showed that there is $435 million in direct value, while a further $730 million is generated through the ‘flow on’ effect.
Production of racing horses accounts for 52.5% (or $491 million), while stallion fees ($240 million or 25.7%) and profits from yearling sales ($157 million or 16.8%) are other major contributors.
NSW – particularly the Hunter Valley – remains the largest hub of breeding with nearly $655 million, but there are active breeding regions throughout Australia, particularly in Victoria ($193.3 million) and Queensland ($93.4 million).
Consequently, NSW remains the largest employer with close to 3,000 full-time or part-time staff, acting on behalf of 2,200 breeders, with an estimated $560 million spent on wages each year.
Fifth generation breeder, Antony Thompson – principal of NSW’s Widden Stud – reveals: “At our busiest, we have about 500 horses on the property, with our stud business requiring us to have approximately 60 full-time positions with some seasonal viability.”
Research also shows that close to 6,000 volunteers willingly give up their time to breeding activities.