The famous Hayes family could be forced to permanently cut ties with South Australian thoroughbred racing, ending a decades-long dynasty started by Hall of Fame trainer Colin, if the state government does not answer a call for action over returns to the industry generated by the point of consumption (PoC) tax.
The South Australian government was the first to impose the PoC tax levelled on corporate bookmakers, with the 15 per cent tax starting on July 1 last year, but is yet to commit to an agreement with the sport’s peak body over a share of the increased revenue.
Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) has been engaged in protracted negotiations with the government about receiving a share of the expected $37 million a year generated by the PoC tax but as yet has not reached a deal.
Studmaster Sam Hayes, the grandson of Colin and nephew of trainer David Hayes, said the standoff had reached crisis point, with a decision needing to be reached in the coming weeks in order for racing in South Australia to plan for the future.
If a favourable outcome could not be reached, Hayes fears he may be forced to abandon South Australia and move his Cornerstone Stud interstate.
He also warned other participants, such as trainers, would be forced to do the same, decimating the local industry. “It would be a shame to see everyone leave, but at the end of the day you have to feed your family and that is the most critical point. We still want to keep doing what we love, but we may have to do it somewhere where it is sustainable,” Hayes told ANZ Bloodstock News yesterday.
“I don’t think it will come to that, but it is so close to that, and what is so frustrating is that it is so simple to fix, yet it hasn’t been resolved yet. We are saying can we please get a response so we can plan our life. “It seems to be a game of poker at the moment and I would prefer our livelihoods not to be played like a game of poker.”
Hayes assumed ownership of Cornerstone Stud in 2008 when it was known as Lindsay Park Stud, the breeding arm established by Colin Hayes in conjunction with his racing operation at Angaston in the Barossa Valley.
After the South Australian government imposed the PoC tax, the NSW and Victorian governments followed suit, but promised to divert some of the extra revenue back into the racing industry.
Last week, the Queensland government has also promised $26 million a year back to the thoroughbred racing industry, allowing the state’s regulator to boost prize money at metropolitan and provincial meetings.
Written by Tim Rowe