ACT Greens challenge $41m of public money given to horseracing industry


Today in Estimates, Jo Clay MLA asked how it is in the public interest to provide $41 million of taxpayer funds to the horseracing industry.

“The ACT Greens have clearly stated our opposition to public funding for the horseracing industry and we know that the majority of the Canberra community feels the same,” said Jo Clay, ACT Greens Spokesperson for Animal Welfare.

“The horseracing industry has spoken a lot about how much revenue the Point of Consumption Tax the ACT horseracing industry generates towards the ACT Budget bottom line. 

“However, I asked the Treasurer today in Estimates if this tax on ACT horseracing generates less than $250,000 per year. He confirmed this and agreed that it was not a strong reason to provide an $8 million public subsidy.

“We welcome the transparency of this latest MOU which has been made public for the first time. But we do not support $41m of taxpayer money being handed over to the horseracing industry, especially when we are dealing with COVID, climate change and homelessness. 

“A budget is about priorities and delivering in line with the public interest. At a time like this, how does the horseracing industry add up to $41 million of priority for the ACT taxpayer?

“Over eleven years ago, the Independent Competition and Consumer Regulatory Commission recommended that the ACT horseracing industry should be self-sufficient. That was a decade ago. 

“The ACT horseracing industry is still being funded year after year by the ACT taxpayer. Thoroughbred Park currently receives half of its operating revenue from the ACT Government. It is clearly not in the public interest to provide this taxpayer subsidy. It’s time to transition out. Giving $41 million to the horseracing industry is simply not in line with community expectations,” said Jo Clay MLA. 


  • Today, Jo Clay asked which of the 12 Wellbeing Indicators were met by funding the horseracing industry. Andrew Barr replied that the funding was assessed against the Economic and Social Connection indicators.
  • The ACT horseracing industry is receiving four times as much money as professional sports like the Brumbies and the Raiders, 800 times as much as community sports grant recipients and 177 times as much as the luckiest Amp It Up grant recipients. It has lower attendance than key events like Floriade, which get 500,000. 
  • Today the Treasuer confirmed that the ACT horseracing industry was not owed MOU funding under the terms of the ACTTAB sale agreement from 2014 (not a public document).