New ACT government tax could consume Canberra racing industry
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New ACT government tax could consume Canberra racing industry

Canberra trainer Paul Jones says racing in the ACT will go backwards unless the ACT government shares the revenue from its new point-of-consumption tax with the industry.

A 15 per cent tax comes into effect on New Year's Day and will apply to all bets placed in the ACT and by the territory's residents.

Canberra trainer Paul Jones has called on the ACT government to share some of its new point-of-consumption tax with the racing industry.

Canberra trainer Paul Jones has called on the ACT government to share some of its new point-of-consumption tax with the racing industry.Credit:Jamila Toderas

It's predicted to raise $2 million in revenue for the government.

A similar tax is already in place in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, with NSW to introduce theirs on New Year's Day as well.

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But NSW and Victoria have already agreed to share the revenue raised with their respective racing industries.

As a result, Victorian racing will increase prizemoney on Tuesday and NSW is expected to release their strategy early in 2019.

But a similar arrangement isn't in place in South Australia, where there are already fears jobs will be lost interstate as a result.

There were strikes in Queensland on the Cox Plate weekend, with that state government eventually buckling and providing extra funding to the racing industry.

Jones said prizemoney increases in Victoria would have a flow-on effect of forcing increased prizemoney in country NSW.

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"We're definitely in need of it. Canberra Race Club is definitely under a little bit of pressure," Jones said.

"Victoria has promised to up their country prizemoney, it's only a matter of when not if NSW follows suit, and if that's the case it's going to put a lot of pressure on Canberra Racing to match the same sort of prizemoney in NSW country areas.

"It's definitely something ACT racing needs, another stream of revenue, because without that we're going to fall behind NSW Racing.

"We've got a pretty good product here now, but it will be a detriment to the product if we don't get some sort of help through the consumption tax."

There's already a $2000 gap between Canberra and country NSW races, with any further increases across the border to put even more pressure on Canberra Racing.

"If that margin gets any bigger I think you'd see the product of Canberra racing going backwards," Jones said.

He has one runner at Sydney's Kensington track on New Year's Day - D'beak in the benchmark 70 handicap (1800 metres).

The six-year-old gelding is a $15 chance behind $2.30-favourite Gayatri.

Jones, who trains the horse in partnership with his mother Barbara Joseph and brother Matt, said D'beak was an each-way chance.

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"Gai [Waterhouse]'s got a class 1 horse in there [Thunder Pace ($8)], which led last start," he said.

"D'beak likes to be up on the speed. I'd say we'd let it go because we don't really want to take on Gai's horse - because when they want to lead they really want to lead.

"So we'll probably sit off him. I give him an each-way chance. He's worked really well during the week.

"Probably after here I might try and step him up to a bit more ground, maybe 2200-2400m."

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.

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