Jane Howlett,Minister for Racing
Tasmanian racing is seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of female participants especially in the thoroughbred jockey ranks and as Minister for Women as well this is very encouraging.
For many years the racing industry was male dominated, especially when it came to jockeys. In fact, until 1979 the Australian racing clubs had not allowed women to become fully fledged jockeys.
Tasmania has had many trailblazer female jockeys, including Bev Buckingham and Robyn Clarke. In 1980, and on her fourth ride, Bev Buckingham rode Limit Man to an easy win, becoming the first woman to ride a winner in Tasmania.
There are currently 13 female jockeys in Tasmania, which represents 50 per cent of the total riding numbers. 9 of the 13 jockeys are currently apprentices and are learning their craft.
Apprentices Codi Jordan and Erica Byrne Burke are currently 1st and 2nd on the Tasmanian Jockeys Premiership.
Women still comprise approximately 35 per cent of all currently registered Jockeys in Australia, but that number is sure to rise as more and more women are signing on for jockey apprenticeships.
The Racing industry is one of a small number of sports that does not have a gender pay gap and the Government is committed to providing adequate resources and facilities to continue to increase in female participation.
Earlier this year, I was delighted to announce a new Maternity Assistance Program for female jockeys and harness drivers in the State.
Tasracing’s Maternity Assistance Program bridge’s the current gap from when a jockey or driver ceases riding or driving at the end of their first trimester until they are eligible for the Federal Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme at the birth of the child.
The Maternity Assistance Program will be paid from the start of the 2nd trimester until the birth of the child at a rate that is equivalent to the jockey or driver’s average weekly wage and capped at the Government’s rate for paid parental leave.
We have already committed $1.5 million to update facilities at the Devonport Racing Club and most importantly the female jockeys room.
The Tasmanian Racing industry provides $185 million per year to the Tasmanian Economy, with 38 per cent of that directly benefiting our regional communities.