Racing a boost for businesses
SMALL businesses benefit most from Central Queensland’s racing industry, say its supporters.
Despite fresh controversy about the industry, a recently-released study commissioned by Racing Queensland summed up its economic advantages: over 300 full-time equivalent jobs in the region and more than $38 million of value.
Clermont jockey Emma Bell said racing contributed to regional towns in several ways.
“Economically, small businesses in town benefit due to products purchased in the town that are required for race meetings and also by bringing non-locals to town who buy from local businesses.
“The committees work tirelessly to make these days successful for the racing participants, horses and the supporters. Horse racing has always been a chance for everyone in the community to have a fun day out with family and friends.”
She spoke too about the current scrutiny of the industry’s ethics.
“Obviously there has been a lot of media attention on the treatment of race horses lately. All of the racehorses I have been involved with are always treated correctly and with respect within the Australian Rules of Racing.
“The Australian Rules of Racing are clear on equine welfare and in Queensland we have a regulator to govern this.”
Despite there being only one race meeting a year for some clubs, Emerald Jockey Club president Leon Roberts said more and more people were showing up for them.
“The economic impact on local towns is obvious,” he said, “with local businesses benefiting by increased turnover as a result of their local race meeting.
“The smaller clubs in this area are now attracting larger crowds than they ever have before.”
Mr Roberts used the Emerald 100 as an example and emphasised its social aspects.
“Attracting a crowd of around 3000 people, it is estimated that the economic benefit to Emerald alone would be well over a million dollars.
“It is also a special day on the Emerald social calendar – an excuse to get dressed up, take plenty of photos, and have a fun day out with your mates.”
He was thankful for the racing industry’s votaries.
“Racing Queensland has been very supportive of country racing and I predict a bright future for racing in the bush.”
Ms Bell agreed with the sentiment.
“I have had immense support in my career. Without my supporters, owners, and trainers, I would not have got this far.”