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Visa Concerns for Queensland Racing

Scrapping of the 457 Visa program will have grave repercussions for the Queensland Thoroughbred Breeding Industry.

The TBQA is currently working with the federal body, the TBA, to highlight an impending crisis for racing and breeding, if the recently announced changes to the Visa program are implemented.

The category of Horse Trainer has been abolished.

This previously allowed for highly trained and experienced staff to be recruited from overseas as managers.

This affects not just horse trainers, as we know them, but virtually all horse people in the industry, strappers, foreman, stud staff, track riders etc.

Horse breeders remain on the list, however, under the changes, staff will only be eligible for a two year visa, and will be unable to apply for permanent residency.

This is going to discourage the best and brightest people from around the world, from taking up senior management positions in Australia.

A large number of Thoroughbred Breeders in Queensland have fears that if this matter is not resolved, it could spell the end of their business.

Federal Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has said the government is committed to supporting the thoroughbred breeding industry.

Mr Joyce, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, was speaking at an announcement to confirm the approval of government for an industry led research and development levy.

“The breeding and racing industry is something that is very important to regional Australia and to me personally, “he said.

“The breeders made it very clear to me that this levy was something they needed, and I went into bat for it in Cabinet, there was some opposition but I’m glad I was able to deliver on it,” he added.

Under the levy, which was included in the budget, and will be in place in the new financial year, breeders will pay $10 per mare and $10 per stallion return.      

This will be put into a fund for R&D, with the government then matching every industry dollar.

It is expected this could lead to some $1 million being spent on research that benefits the thoroughbred breeding industry.


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