Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) and Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) today welcomed the announcement by Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce that, if re-elected, a Coalition Government will deliver Research and Development Levy funding to the thoroughbred breeding industry.
The Levy would see the Department of Agriculture match funds raised by the thoroughbred breeding industry in a ‘dollar for dollar scheme’ for research projects that will be spent safeguarding and improving equine health and production.
It is expected about $400,000 will be raised each year by a small levy on stallion and mare owners, with the government agreeing to match that sum for an initial three years if re-elected, meaning $800,000 will be available annually to fund research.
Such ‘dollar-for-dollar’ levy schemes are common in Australian agriculture sector including cotton, poultry, horticulture, beef and grains.
“We are grateful to Mr Joyce for committing to matched funding available for research. This scheme will give our industry real certainty that we will have government support into the future for vital projects in areas like bio-security and disease control,” said Mr Nolan.
“Breeding plays a very important role in the rural economy and it’s pleasing to have this acknowledged by Mr Joyce. I have no doubt that the research funded by this levy will help us grow our industry through better health outcomes for horses and it will also safeguard the jobs of the many thousands of people who work with thoroughbreds,” Mr Nolan added.
A proposal put forward TBA was initially rejected by the Federal Government last year, after which the peak body for the breeding industry produced economic modelling that showed granting the levy would improve production and economic activity.
“This is a great result for Victorian breeders,” said TBV President James O’Brien.
“It is critical our sector maintains a healthy level of research to ensure a healthy and productive population of horses. We can’t take these matters for granted.”
“TBA, particularly CEO Tom Reilly, ought to be commended for the hard work they have done in lobbying the government and convincing parliamentarians of all sides of politics of the importance this levy.”
Among the areas likely to be the focus of research are the prevention and management of exotic and indigenous diseases, improving the conception rates of mares and stallions and efforts to reduce foetal loss caused by contagious diseases.
TBA Chief Executive Tom Reilly described how the levy will provide real certainty for funding.
“Getting this levy funded is very important and it means we can look to some ambitious long term projects of benefit to all breeders right across the country. Once put in place these R&D levies have not been repealed so we believe this funding will be ongoing,” he said.