Racing Queensland report shows industry's importance to state economy

Racing Queensland report shows industry's importance to state economy

Racing bosses are positioning to take a lead role in Queensland’s economic recovery, as a new report reveals how important the industry’s size and scope is.

The Size and Scope report – delivered by tourism, events and entertainment industry consultants IER – found the Queensland racing industry’s economic contribution grew 5.5 per cent to more than $1.6 billion in the 2018/19 reporting period.

Racing also created 1070 additional fulltime jobs in that period, taking its total employment to 12,643 Queenslanders.

It comes as racing bosses are positioning the industry to take a lead role in the state’s economic recovery, having been one of the only sport’s to continue right through the pandemic period.

Driving more tourism dollars to regional Queensland by aligning race meets with major events is part of the strategy, while the Palaszczuk Government has committed $31.5 million to turn the Gold Coast Turf Club into the ‘Happy Valley’ of Australian racing.

Night racing would be a feature of the upgraded Gold Coast Turf Club in what would be a major new attraction for the tourism reliant city.

The industry’s $1.61 billion economic contribution is $80 million more than the previous reporting period.

“The Queensland racing industry continues to make enormous strides,” Racing Queensland chairman Steve Wilson said.

“This data confirms how dominant our size and scale is compared to other sporting industries, but it’s the way in which we connect people throughout the state which is so important.

“From Stanthorpe to Cooktown and everywhere in between, more than $850 million in salaries and wages are earned by Queensland racing participants.

“Across Queensland, there are 62 towns each year who host a raceday as the highlight for that community’s social calendar, showcasing everything that is great about local food, fashion and on-course entertainment.

“Given the challenges of COVID-19, the state’s post-pandemic recovery will impact us all, and racing can play a key role in driving intra-state and inter-state tourism through our incredible events and activities.”

Racing Queensland’s annual report late last month showed the governing body had increased its payments to participants in FY20 to a record high of $223 million, with prize money reaching $172 million.