COVID-19 UPDATE
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AN OPEN LETTER TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE
AUSTRALIAN THOROUGHBRED RACING INDUSTRY
31 MARCH 2020

 

Dear Racing Participants,
 
On behalf of Racing Australia’s Directors, Executive Management and staff members, I wish to express our concern to all participants in thoroughbred racing who are facing critical challenges as a consequence of  COVID-19.
 
The Australian people are experiencing an unprecedented public health and economic crisis.  The scale of the impact is unknown, however, we do know that the Federal, State and Territory governments have acted decisively in response to the public health and economic threat. What is indisputable is the significant effects of COVID-19 on small to medium enterprises and large corporations that have contributed to the prosperity of racing.
 
I am pleased to report that Racing Australia has been working closely with Principal Racing Authorities, to ensure continuation of thoroughbred racing across Australia.  Our objectives are simple:

  • to keep racing going,
  • to maintain employment  within our sport for the majority of our 74,000 plus full-time participants, and
  • to ensure that equine welfare is kept at the highest level.
These are proud achievements that would not have occurred without your compliance to the new protocols implemented by Australian racing.  Our responsibility is to follow the advice of the National Cabinet, the Principal Racing Authorities and medical experts to ensure thoroughbred racing stands the best chance to continue.
 
This means, when at work, follow the protocols put in place by your Principal Racing Authority at all times.  And when not at work, stay at home, obey social distancing and wash your hands!  This is vitally important for the ongoing viability of the industry we love and which supports so many livelihoods.
 
Racing Australia has engaged experts to represent our interests to governments throughout Australia. Racing Australia, working together with our advisors and the Principal Racing Authorities, has submitted an extensive analysis to the National Cabinet this past weekend.
 
The report highlights:
  • Australian racing’s economic contribution of around $9.5 billion with 51% generated in regional Australia
  • 28,157 racehorses ran during the 2018/19 racing season
  • 4.2 million people attended a race-meeting last year
  • Nearly 160,000 people participate in thoroughbred racing
  • 21,425 volunteers make racing possible
  • $728.8 million in prize money was paid out last racing season
  • Caring, exercising and maintaining a Thoroughbred is a 24/7/365 commitment
  • A return to racing, should we be forced to close, is not simply a matter of turning on a tap. A 2-month closure is effectively a 6-month closure.

On behalf of Racing Australia, I sincerely hope that you all remain safe and healthy throughout these tough times and please don’t drop your guard.  We need everyone to do their bit.
 
Greg Nichols
Chairman
Racing Australia