For comparison In 2000-01 the sport and physical recreation sector (excluding horse and dog racing) generated approximately $3,172 million in value added, which equates to around 0.47 per cent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product. (Confederation of Australian Sport - 2004 Federal Election Policy).
This would make it appear that the Equine industry contributes approximately twice as much to the GDP as the remainder of Sports in Australia together. Compare this to the amount of coverage given by Media such as Television. Apart from the Compulsory Melbourne Cup Carnival and a casual mention of the Garryowen maybe, the Pleasure and Performance part of the industry rarely gets a mention. This is even though our record in Equestrian disciplines, especially eventing, is outstanding. It is a different story overseas, with equestrian events attracting big sponsorship and through the power of the associated media coverage, big audiences.
Below is an Excerpt from RIRDC current 5 year development plan (Rural Industries Development and Research Corporation). Further information is available at the following site Or for a more detailed report called “The Horse Industry -Contributing to the Australian economy”
- The Australian horse industry is a multi-disciplined industry. It represents a wide variety of activities including primary production as well as sports and recreational interests.
- The sector interests can be organised with a local, regional, state and/or federal focus. The racing sector, for instance, is state structured providing considerable revenues to State Governments, but with overarching governance at the national level through the Australian Racing Board. Other horse disciplines, such as harness racing, the Equestrian Federation of Australia (EFA), stock horses, quarter horses, pony clubs, Australian ponies and Arabian horses, have a national body as well as state bodies.
- The available estimate of horses in Australia is at least 1.2 million, with estimates of 400,000 brumbies and 316,000 horses on agricultural properties. In the thoroughbred breeding industry alone 26,251 mares were covered in the 2005 season and 850 stallions stood at stud.
- The membership of the Equestrian Federation of Australia was 17,681, with 70,000 horses in the Federation’s database and 10,184 horses with current performance cards. The EFA website receives up to 100,000 hits per day and about a million hits per month. As at 30 July 2006 there were 61,819 registered members of pony clubs across Australia.
- Moreover not only is Australia recognized internationally as a producer of outstanding racehorses but in the pleasure discipline, Australia has excelled in the sport of Three Day Eventing winning its first Olympic Gold Medal in Rome in 1960 and winning three successive Olympic Gold Medals in the sport, culminating in the Sydney Olympics win in 2000.
- Although the Australian horse industry is seen as being fragmented with a low level of industry cohesion and weak national governance, this belies its contribution to the social and economic growth of Australia. The "product" the horse, has shaped Australia both in its history and social fabric and today the horse, as much as it might be off the scale in terms of importance recognition and legislative policy priorities, is a major contributor to the Australian economy.
- The RIRDC Equine R&D Advisory Committee commissioned a study in 2001 that looked at the contribution of Australia’s horse industry to the national economy. The study estimated that the contribution to GDP of the horse industry was over $6.3 billion in 1999. If the value of volunteer labour is included this pushes the contribution of the industry to almost $8 billion.
- Other main findings of the study were:
- animal related expenditures contribute a little under half of the overall contribution to GDP, at $3.1 billion — this expenditure is divided fairly evenly between animal husbandry, feed, stabling and accommodation and training;
- business related expenditures contribute $2.4 billion — well over half is labour expenditure;
- event related expenditure is almost $0.8 billion — a substantial proportion (around a third) was spending on food and beverages by spectators. Transport for horses and spectators are also big items;
- racing (breeding, racing businesses and wagering) is estimated to contribute around $3.9 billion to GDP, although this includes the cost of keeping young horses;
- equestrian events are not that far behind racing events in contributing to GDP, with expenditures of almost $0.4 billion on the events;
- wagering on horse racing alone contributes almost $1 billion to government revenue; and
- based on an average tax rate of 25 per cent , income taxes on labour would contribute $100 million in federal government revenue.
- About time the Equine Industry pulled together, pooled their resources and gets the attention, sponsorship and media coverage they deserve. How about lobbying a few politicians. After all sometime between August 2007 and January 2008 there will be a federal election.