High profile Queensland horse trainer Rob Heathcote is calling on the Palaszczuk government to guarantee the money from its new gambling tax is directed back into racing.
Labor’s 15 per cent point-of-sale tax is due to take effect from October 1, however Queensland racing figures are worried the tax will hit the industry hard.
A point of consumption tax is levied on money gambled in the state where the bet is placed, in an effort to crackdown on interstate and overseas companies who previously avoided paying tax on bets placed in Queensland.
Queensland’s tax would be one of the highest in the country, and compares to a 10 per cent tax introduced in NSW and an eight per cent levy in Victoria.
Mr Heathcote says he doesn’t mind the level of the tax, as long as the money is used to benefit Queensland’s racing industry.
“No new tax is good, but it could be for racing if you give (the money) back to us,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“It’s a concerning time for us in racing because we simply don’t know what is going to happen and we’re six days out from this being introduced.”
He said some of the money should go towards increasing the prize money for Queensland race meetings, with purses in in the state dropping from 75 per cent of those on offer in NSW to 40 per cent over the last decade.
Mr Heathcote said money should also be directed towards infrastructure, pointing to the example of Brisbane’s Eagle Farm racecourse, which is still yet to come online after being out of action since 2014 with track problems.
Asked about the issue on Tuesday in Toowoomba, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government did care about the state’s racing industry
“That’s why we introduced over $70 million for country racing, we’re working very closely with the industry,” the premier said.
She flagged that Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad would have more to say about the point-of-consumption tax later in the week.
The tax was one of four announced in the last week of the 2017 election campaign by the government as a way of funding its election commitments.