STUD farms across the region are set to gallop ahead, with the thoroughbred breeding industry partnering with the government to invest in more research.
Starting from the next financial year, a new levy will be introduced, with breeders taxed $10 per mare, paid by the stallion owner, and $10 per mare returned per season, paid by the broodmare owner.
“That’s $20 every time someone gets lucky,” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said, laughing.
The levy is expected to collect $400,000 from the industry each year, which will be matched dollar for dollar by the federal government and managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).
Mr Joyce, whose electorate of New England now includes the breeding heartlands of Aberdeen and Scone, said horse racing was part of “the fabric of our nation”.
“There are a couple of things that stop the nation every year and one of them is a horse race in Melbourne,” he said.
“We are vital part of this industry. The New England, now that it starts at Aberdeen, is very much enmeshed with the horse racing industry.”
Mr Joyce said the levy delivered on his election promise and was a “very hard fight”. “It’s an incredibly important industry – if you think of all the strappers, the jockeys, the trainers, the feed industry, it employs so many people,” he said.
Thoroughbred Breeders Australia CEO Tom Reilly said the breeding industry directly employed about 10,000 people.
Mr Reilly said the industry would “love to see” some research into fertility rates.
“At the moment, the fertility rate in thoroughbred breeding has stay pretty much static at two-thirds, so that’s two-thirds of mares covered resulting in a pregnancy,” he said.
“Thoroughbred Breeders Australia will immediately put $200,000 into the levy so we can start funding projects next year.”