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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 27079

Mr SWAN (9:40 AM) —This morning I want to make some remarks about the racing industry, as we are at the height of the winter racing carnival in Brisbane, and the racing industry is concentrated particularly in the area of Brisbane that I represent—around the racing tracks at Eagle Farm, Doomben, Albion Park and the training track at Deagon. The racing industry is going through a rough trot at the moment, caused by some changes in habits and by the impact of the GST. The GST has had a significant impact on racing and breeding, and that is bad news for the industry. The Queensland Principal Club has undertaken an extensive study to examine the impact of the GST on the racing industry in Queensland. In terms of racing and breeding, it is estimated that the total cost impact of the GST in Queensland is about $13 million per annum. The GST has added about $4 million annually to the cost of purchasing yearlings—

Government members interjecting—

Mr SWAN —I am sure members opposite know something about this—in Queensland by owners who are not GST registered. This is a very significant point. Professional breeders are required to add GST to the sale price of yearlings to protect their margins. This additional cost is lost to the industry for non-registered buyers who are unable to claim back their input credits. Therefore, the GST has added between $1,300 and $1,400 to the annual cost of racing a horse for those 70 per cent of owners who are not GST registered, excluding indirect costs such as insurance, personal transport and communication expenses. This additional cost means that about $9 million a year is leaking out of the industry. So the GST impact on the Queensland racing industry comes on top of the unwelcome impact of the high cost of fuel and other cost increases.

The racing industry is one of the biggest direct and indirect employers in the Lilley electorate. I am deeply concerned that jobs are being lost. When I met with the racing industry last week, they indicated to me that they had probably lost around one-third of their business, and this was largely due to the impact of the GST generally on small business people who were racing horses, and then their subsequent inability to claim back their input credits.

We as a community, particularly in the northern suburbs, need a plan for racing. We need all tiers of government, including both federal and state, the local community, the clubs, the Queensland Principal Club, the clubs at Eagle Farm and Doomben, the trainers, the owners and the workers to come together, because this is a very important employer of labour. It also adds a significant dimension to the cultural outlook of the community. If the racing industry keeps going the way it is going, that will be lost forever. The jobs will go with it, and our community will be changed forever. In the northern suburbs of Brisbane, we need a coordinated approach to the future of the racing industry so that we can protect those jobs and protect the future of this vital industry, including all of those who depend on it, not just in the northern suburbs but in country Queensland and country Australia. (Time expired)