Country racing under threat by further funding cuts
THE FUTURE of country racing is looking grim as rumours circulate of Racing Queensland making further cuts to the industry.
Chairman of the Eastern Downs Racing Association Graham Rewald believes more funding cuts will not only be to the detriment of country racing in Queensland, but also to the already struggling regional towns that economically rely on the grassroots industry.
"Country racing not only employs but provides a training ground for new industry participants such as trainers, jockeys, strappers, stablehands, trackwork riders and stud employees, having produced such top trainers as Peter Moody, John O'Shea and Barry Baldwin, to name a few, " Mr Rewald said.
"Most of the jockeys riding in Queensland have started their career in country areas."
Mr Rewald said the consistent large crowd turnouts to country race meetings were often so big they exceeded the local population, with the average TAB turnover in country towns being higher per capita.
Meanwhile, at the big city race-meets, the millions of dollars poured into single race days went directly to privately owned and often multinational companies.
"It is hard to believe a Labor Government would agree to any cuts to country racing which would cause a huge loss of jobs and income to the battlers of the racing industry, which would affect the economy of country towns," Mr Rewald said.
"Country racing is the grassroots of racing and if not looked after (it) will have a detrimental effect on racing."