ACT Greens seek budget amendment to end $41m public subsidy to horseracing industry


This week, Jo Clay MLA will seek to amend the ACT Budget to phase out the $41 million public subsidy to the horseracing industry. This is the first time the ACT Greens have moved an amendment to an ACT Government Budget in the Assembly since being in shared government.

“The ACT Greens do not support public funding for the horseracing industry. We understand a sudden cut will affect the workers and the animals, so I will move to phase out public funds to the horseracing industry by 20% each year over the next five years. Despite growing discontent in the community about this funding, I anticipate the Canberra Liberals and ACT Labor will vote to keep giving the $41 million public subsidy to the horseracing industry,” said Ms Clay.

“The current MOU is an improvement on previous MOUs because it has been made public. Government grants, contracts and the budget are all public documents so I’m pleased to see that this 2022 MOU is now also public.

“The 2013 and 2017 MOUs were not public. Funding amounts are hard to find. Of the last 8 annual reports, I only found one that clearly sets out the funds. I've recently obtained partial access to past MOUs and it looks like over $100 million of taxpayer funds was spent or pledged to the racing industry since 2013 with no public scrutiny.

“In Budget Estimates, the Treasurer confirmed that each year, the ACT Government collects “a tiny amount" in wagering tax on ACT horseracing. Australian gambling statistics show it's less than $250,000 each year. Yet the ACT Government gives $8 million of public funds to that industry each year.

“This MOU is not about jobs. Thoroughbred Park’s wage and salary bill was $1.675M last year, less than a quarter of the public funds they received.

“In 2011 the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission said the industry should be self-sufficient. The horseracing industry has had enough time to diversify its income. It is not the job of Government to prop up a failing business model indefinitely, particularly one that delivers such a questionable public benefit,” said Ms Clay.


  • The RiotAct Poll showing growing community discontent is here.
  • Current MOU between ACT Government and horse racing industry is here.
  • Partial access to previous 2013 and 2017 MOUs is here. Full access may be available on Monday.
  • ACT Greens opposed renewal of the MOU.
  • Last year Thoroughbred Park’s total revenue was $12.5M. They received
    ACT Government funds of $6.6M. Their wage and salary bill was $1.675M.
  • The Treasurer took questions in Estimates about this MOU on 29 August (transcript p 15 / p570 and p 34 / p590 here, video from 43:28 here).