The ACT Greens’ move to amend the Territory’s budget, to begin phasing out the government’s $41 million subsidy to the horse racing industry, was shut down in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

“Budgets are about priorities and the Greens know what ours are. In the midst of climate, housing and inequality crises, ACT Labor and the Canberra Liberals are wrong to keep prioritising the horse racing industry,” said ACT Greens MLA Jo Clay.

“The ACT Greens do not support any public funding of the horse racing industry. If we were in a Green-led government with Labor, this is not how we’d spend the money.

“As the smaller partner in this two-party government we were overruled as the budget was being developed, which is why we tried to change it before the budget was passed. Unfortunately, last night Labor and the Liberals voted together to insist on this costly gift to the racing industry.

“There is a lot the ACT Government could do with $41 million dollars. We could front up to inequality and build more public housing, or help more Canberrans on the lowest incomes with energy efficiency upgrades, so they can live more cheaply, comfortably and sustainably.

“We could even keep this money in the sports sector to boost community sport and community facilities.”

This is the second year in a row the Greens have proposed a phase-out of the subsidy to the racing industry.

“When proposing this amendment last year we received clear public support. A survey on RiotACT showed that 74% of their readers were against the subsidy as racing’s ‘social licence has run out.’

“As it stands, horse racing receives significantly more funding than the Brumbies rugby union teams, the Raiders rugby league teams and the Canberra United and Capitals soccer teams combined.

“Both the animals and people involved in this industry need to be supported. This is why I keep proposing a phase-out of this subsidy, which could have started with a 40% reduction in this budget.

“Prior to my amendment last year, I had discussions with my Labor colleagues on working together to develop a transition plan for workers in the industry. Unfortunately, this did not lead to either ACT Labor or Canberra Liberals members joining the Greens in amending the budget.”


Ms Clay and the ACT Greens’ comments on the subsidy in last year’s budget can be found here.