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HRA proposed 15% levy Media Release

Australian breeders are set to benefit with a prizemoney injection of more than $2m into new racing opportunities for Australian bred horses which will lift the industry to new heights.

The Harness Racing Australia (HRA) Executive is proposing the immediate introduction of a new Stallion Levy which will raise the critical funds to promote, improve and support the harness racing industry. 

Invoiced to Stallion owners following a 42-day positive test result, the 15 per cent levy on the advertised Service Fee of Shuttle and Internationally Domiciled Stallions (transported and frozen semen) is anticipated to raise in excess of $2mil annually. In practice, the levy will therefore be applied to the connections of Stallions who are serving mares not just in Australia, but across multiple jurisdictions and/or both hemispheres in any given year.

While there is the potential for some Stallion Owners to simply pass this cost on to Australian breeders, this would be extremely disappointing and naïve given the competitive nature of the Australian breeding industry, the multitude of opportunities available to these Owners globally, and the long-term support afforded these Stallion owners and Farms over an extended period.

HRA would be responsible for the invoicing, collection and distribution of the levy.

The HRA Executive has identified a number of propositions with regards to how best and most equitably distribute these funds in a manner which promotes and improves the sport. These propositions have so far included:

  • The introduction of an Inter Dominion “home grown” bonus, which is paid on top of existing prizemoney to the highest placed Australian bred horses in the Championship Finals;

  • Establishment of high profile, highly marketable and high prizemoney events for Australian bred horses which could include a $1m Australian Pacing Cup and $300k Australian Trotting Cup, plus Australian Oaks and Derby’s for each gait;

  • The introduction of Signature Events such as Pacing and Trotting “Slot Races” for Australian bred horses, where connections buy a place in the race to compete for high prizemoney (eg. The Everest). Some of these funds could be used to subsidise the “slots” on, for example, a dollar-for-dollar basis to ensure lucrative and attractive prizemoney; and or

  • A distribution model similar to the Clearance Fee which is returned to the State of Origin (where the mare resides), whereby additional feature races to support Australian bred Fillies and Mares.

This paper does not represent the full, final, or agreed proposals – it is intended to provide a basis for discussion with stakeholders including Stallion Owners, Stud Masters, Breeders and the wider industry.

Subsequently, HRA Executive have agreed to consult on these for a period of six-weeks, inviting written submissions from stakeholders, including for alternative proposals as to how best utilise the $2m+ funds generated by the levy, up until the close of business on 31 May 2021.

Once consultation has closed, the HRA Executive will review all feedback, refine the proposals and advise of the way forward.

If you would like more information, please contact HRA Chief Executive, Andrew Kelly on +61 3 9227 3000 or hra@hra.com.au.

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