​​Media Release

Thoroughly good news for Australian horse breeders

17 May 2017

  • A new levy will provide the thoroughbred horse breeding industry with greater certainty about future R&D funding.
  • The levy is expected to collect $400,000 from industry each year and the Coalition Government will match expenditure by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) on eligible thoroughbred R&D dollar-for-dollar.
  • The 2017-18 Budget measure delivers on another election commitment and will support research into thoroughbred breeding productivity and the welfare of horses and is to commence next financial year.

Stud farms across Australia will benefit from a new industry backed research and development (R&D) levy, aimed at improving thoroughbred breeding while combatting diseases and parasites in horses.

Delivered in the 2017–18 Budget, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the levy would ensure that all thoroughbred horse breeders invested equitably in R&D, and would provide industry with greater certainty about future R&D funding for investment in longer-term projects.

"The Coalition supports this levy as a vital contribution to the future of the thoroughbred horse industry which is so important to Australia," said Minister Joyce.

"The levy is expected to collect $400,000 from the industry each year and will be managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC). The Coalition Government will match expenditure by RIRDC on eligible thoroughbred R&D dollar-for-dollar.

"Australia has the second largest thoroughbred breeding industry in the world, after the United States, with 660 stud farms across Australia, the majority located in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

"These stud farms supply thoroughbred horses to both the domestic and overseas markets and Australian-bred mare Winx is currently the top-rated racehorse on turf in the world.

"Australia also stages more races with more runners than most of Western Europe combined. The thoroughbred racing industry is worth around $5 billion per annum to the Australian economy, and employs over 65,000 people, particularly in rural and regional areas.

"On top of breeding productivity and research in reducing horse diseases and parasites, the levy could be used to fund research to reduce injury and breakdown of horses in work and training; improve the safety of industry participants and the welfare of horses; and enhance the environmental sustainability of the industry," Minister Joyce said.

"The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimates a $12 return for industry from every $1 invested, which is good for industry, and good for those at the farm gate.

"This levy will provide industry with greater certainty about available funding in future years and enable forward-year planning to deliver priority R&D for the benefit of the whole industry.

"Today's announcement of the delivery of this government election commitment is great news I am glad that the government can help the industry work together to invest equitably in R&D that will benefit each and every thoroughbred horse breeder in Australia."

Fast Facts:

  • In the 2014–15 season, 19 368 mares were covered to produce 12 871 live foals
  • The levy will be set at a rate of $10 per mare covered per season, paid by the stallion owner and $10 per mare returned per season, paid by the broodmare owner
  • The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation has undertaken R&D for the broader horse industry since 1995, and delivered valuable outcomes such as improvements in equine neonatal care​