Government help for racing on the right track but needs to be rolled out sooner

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The NSW Opposition has today welcomed reports the Government will implement one of Labor’s key election policies by bringing the wagering tax for the state’s racing industry into parity with Victoria – but says support for the industry should come sooner.

Labor Leader Luke Foley’s first commitment was to reduce the tax from $3.22 for every $100 wagered to just $1.28 by 1 January 2016 – bringing NSW in line with Victoria.

The Government has announced it will implement this tax cut in stages, meaning the full benefit to the industry won’t realised until 2020 – beyond the next election.

“I proposed this tax cut for one of our most important industries in January,” said Mr Foley.

“While the Government is on the right track, it will be another four years until the NSW racing industry actually reaches parity with Victoria. 

“Mike Baird wants The Championships to be the premier racing carnival in Australia – just not yet.”

Mr Foley said acting to bring NSW into line with Victoria immediately would boost the racing industry, create an extra 2000 jobs and support the 50,000 already employed in the racing industry across the state.

“We need to be bringing down barriers that impede investment in industries like racing that create significant employment in Western Sydney and regional NSW,” he said.

“There is no reason NSW cannot be the racing capital of the southern hemisphere. Introducing the tax in full in this budget will allow the industry to increase prize money and truly give Victoria a run for its money.”

Shadow Treasurer Michael Daley said the backflip from the Liberals and Nationals on racing tax parity was outstanding.

“Earlier in the year the Baird Government hated the idea, labelling it a waste of money,” said Mr Daley.

“Thankfully they have had an epiphany on this and come around to Labor’s way of thinking.

“Levelling the playing field for racing will be of particular benefit to regional NSW, where the Liberals’ time in government has seen soaring rates of unemployment.

“Unfortunately under the Liberals, this tax cut won’t be fully passed on until 2020 – four years after Labor’s commitment,” added Mr Daley.