Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria have welcomed the recent commitment by Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to supporting research in the thoroughbred breeding industry.

Mr Joyce, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, was speaking at an announcement to confirm the approval of government funds for an industry-led research and development levy.

“The breeding and racing industry is something that is very important to regional Australia and to me personally,” Joyce said at Tamworth racecourse last week.

“The breeders made it very clear to me that this levy was something they needed and I went in to bat for it in Cabinet. There was some opposition but I’m glad I was able to deliver on it.”

Under the levy, which was included in this month’s Federal Budget and which will be in place in the new financial year, breeders will pay $10 per mare covered and stallion owners will pay $10 per stallion return.

These funds will be put in a fund for research and development with the Federal Government matching every industry dollar.

It is expected this could lead to some $1 million being spent each year on research that benefits the thoroughbred breeding industry.

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia chief executive Tom Reilly said having the government commit funds in the budget was the culmination of years of lobbying efforts.

“Getting the government to commit to this important levy was something the TBA board made clear was a priority when I joined the organisation,” said Mr Reilly.

“We are in the process of selecting the board which will oversee the spending of the funds and there will be a strong presence of breeders to ensure the money goes towards projects that return real benefits to the breeding industry.”

Such levy schemes are common in the Australian primary producing sector with industries such as cotton, dairy, horticulture, beef and grains, all receiving dollar for dollar funding from the government in this way.

Among the thoroughbred breeding 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.

Mr Joyce added: “This levy will provide the 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.”

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