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Greens launch plan to shut down racing

Media Release
Mehreen Faruqi 2 Nov 2021

The Greens have today launched a Horse Racing Transition Plan to shut down commercial horse racing in Australia. After years of exposes on the cruelty of the horse racing industry, seven horses having died at the last eight Melbourne Cup races, and ongoing concerns about the power and influence of the gambling industry, the Greens say it is beyond time to shut this industry down.

A Horse Racing Transition Plan would be coordinated and managed through the establishment of a Horse Racing Transition Taskforce within the Commonwealth Government, and funded by a Horse Betting Levy that would finance transition activities as determined by the taskforce.

Horse Racing Transition Plan

A Horse Racing Transition Taskforce would be housed in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for a period of 4 years, costing $10.1 million over that period.

The taskforce would:

  • Design and implement the national ban on horse racing
  • Develop the plan to transition racing facilities to open green spaces
  • Develop the plan for workers currently employed
  • Assist in rehabilitation and rehoming of horses
  • Design and implement a betting levy.

A Horse Betting Levy of 1% of betting turnover related to commercial horse racing would be introduced. Over its first two years, this levy is projected to raise $494 million, and would fund the activities decided by the taskforce, which could include retraining programs for workers, rehoming schemes for animals, and redeveloping racecourses. The levy could be increased or extended depending on the scope and direction of the taskforce’s work.

Both initiatives have been costed by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office.

Quotes attributable to Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Greens spokesperson for Animal Welfare:

“Commercial horse racing is inhumane, deadly and incompatible with animal welfare. Like greyhound racing, this gambling-fuelled industry must be shut down.

“More and more people in the community are switching off from racing. Public interest in the Melbourne Cup has crashed in recent times, and more businesses are boycotting the event every year. A recent Lonergan poll found that a majority of people agree that racing animals like horses for gambling and entertainment is cruel.

“We have a huge opportunity here to shut down a cruel industry, deliver new jobs in regions and cities, and repurpose racetracks for community facilities and green spaces.

“With a publicly-funded transition taskforce and a betting levy, we can have the resources needed to ensure a smooth and sensitive transition away from commercial horse racing. “Horse racing kills. A horse dies every three days at a racetrack in Australia. No horse is safe at the Melbourne Cup or at any other race. It’s time to shut this industry down.”

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