The Liberal government continues to show nothing but contempt for Tasmania’s racing industry.
Shadow Minister for Sport David O’Byrne said an announcement today of increased prizemoney was a slap in the face for the industry.
“The racing industry in Tasmania was shut down in a move no other jurisdiction made. The decision inflicted unnecessary pain on an industry that took every possible step to demonstrate it could operate in a COVID-safe manner.
“Now, instead of a genuine support package to help the industry get back on its feet, Jane Howlett offers an increase in stakes, that’s funded by the new tax the Liberals introduced at the start of this year, a tax that will raise millions of dollars for the government.
“It’s a move the industry has described as ‘underwhelming’.
“Industry supported the introduction of that tax on the basis they would get a fair share to reinvest in the industry and reduce reliance on government funding.
“Instead, government appears to have unilaterally allocated tax revenue to prize money, and not given the industry a voice in how funds would be best spent.”
Mr O’Byrne said the government has failed to grasp the pain caused by their decision to shut down the industry.
“In Victoria, where racing was not closed down, a substantial package was developed to support the three codes.
“In New Zealand, the government acknowledged the contribution of the industry to the economy, and the impact of COVID-19 in announcing its support package.
“Racing employs more than 5000 Tasmanians and generates more than $100 million in economic activity. Every week the industry remained shut down threatened its viability.
“Jane Howlett and Peter Gutwein have failed to grasp the level of pain inflicted by their government. And they are not prepared to make it right by developing a support package so the industry can protect as many jobs as possible, and get back on its feet.
“It’s a continuing demonstration of the complete contempt this government has for an industry that employs Tasmanians and supports communities across the state.”
Shadow Minister for Sport