Record Budget for Australian Harness Racing
The duties of the Racing and Wagering Western Australia, or RWWA, includes regulating and supervising all racing aspects of harness racing, thoroughbred racing and greyhound racing that take place in Western Australia. This entails overseeing rules, drug testing, promoting welfare and development, loans, clubs, jockeys and acting as liaison between government authorities and the racing community. Racing budgets are also a major part of their responsibilities, and they have just announced a record budget for the harness racing 2008/2009 financial year, of $30.6 million.
The distribution of these funds have also been determined by Racing and Wagering Western Australia, and it has been indicated that $122.6 million will be divided between the harness racing industry participants and clubs, the capital expenditure of the industry, capital expenditure grants for racing clubs and various racing industry subsidies. Another $2 million will also be made available for grants, from sports betting, and will be handed over to the Minister of Sport and Recreation for distribution.
On the whole, clubs and industry participants will be benefiting from a $3.6 million increase in the distribution funds and it has been estimated and budgeted that the government will be receiving approximately $57 million in tax through the betting and wagering procedures of the RWWA. Funding of the harness racing industry will also be increased by $1 million, allowing for higher purses and stakes. The RWWA will also the contributing $12 million to the country clubs racing organizations and metropolitan racing clubs in the form of grants, as part of a three year support contribution which will come to an end in July 2008.
The budget has swept over the harness racing industry with welcome relief; especially after suffering a major crisis within the racing fraternity caused by the equine influenza terror that gripped the industry earlier in the year. The RWWA budget will also ensure that many people who work within racing will be able to remain in the industry, as concerns were raised after the equine influenza outbreak wreaked havoc within horse racing. Racing and Wagering Western Australia have once again proved that they are able to support the industry effectively, and increase the returns to the racing industry, even in the face of uncertainty and in the aftermath of near disaster.