Saddling up for industry discussions on a potential horse industry levy 24 Feb 2011

 A report published today by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation will help guide discussions within Australia’s horse industry on the potential introduction of a statutory levy to support ongoing research and development. 

Evaluation of the options for a horse Research, Development and Extension Levy was commissioned by RIRDC to assist members of Australia’s horse industry better understand the range of issues involved in the development of an industry wide levy proposal.

“RIRDC will use this report as a guide to kick-start discussions with industry members about introducing a statutory levy to support horse R&D,” Mr Craig Burns, RIRDC Managing Director said.

“The report also outlines the consultation process industry needs to undertake before taking to government a statutory levy proposal.

“Proposals to introduce statutory levies often lead to vigorous debate within industries on the merits of mandatory contributions, particularly in industries where there are a wide range of stakeholders. This applies particularly to the horse industry which contains a diverse set of interested parties, such as owners, trainers, medical suppliers and recreational users. 

“One of the best ways to get these discussions off on the right foot is by making available clear and easily understood information on the issue, so industry members can make an informed judgements about future proposals.”

The report notes some of the challenges the horse industry has faced in the past introducing a statutory levy.  In the 1990s the industry, through the Australian Horse Industry Council, developed an ultimately unsuccessful proposal for a statutory levy based on the sale of new horse shoes. 

Mr Burns said the value of research and development into the horse industry is highlighted in a second RIRDC report published today.

Economic Evaluation of Investment in the Horse RD&E Program highlights the benefits that have accrued from investment in three randomly selected horse projects, namely health and safety in Australian racing; reducing the risk of pneumonia in horses; and uncovering the link between the ingestion of  hairy caterpillars and horse foetal loss. 

The projects, which cost $1.07 million with the RIRDC contribution $398,000, were found to have produced aggregate benefits of $3.85 million. 

“This report demonstrates the economic benefits that can potentially flow to industry from targeted research and development, and the positive link between R&D and a more profitable, competitive and sustainable industry.”

Both reports are available for free download or purchase from the RIRDC website