Racing Victoria (RV), in conjunction with the Australian Trainers Association (ATA), is increasing investment in participant wellbeing, the delivery of safe workplaces and the management of WorkCover costs with a suite of initiatives announced today.
The initiatives align the industry’s commitment to trainer and stable staff wellbeing with those to jockey and equine welfare.
The announcement follows extensive consultation with the ATA, trainers and other industry stakeholders regarding the impacts of increasing WorkCover premiums and the need to continually improve workplace safety.
It also builds on recent recommendations of the Racing Integrity Commissioner’s Review into Victim Support and Complaint Processes.
RV will invest in the wellbeing of participants and improving WorkCover costs and worker outcomes as follows:
Create a specialised service for Victorian racing to help trainers manage workplace claims and get injured workers healthy and back to work as quickly as possible;
Enhance Safe & Respectful Workplace education to reduce WorkCover claims and improve industry working conditions;
Renew the Stableline service which provides free 24/7 independent counselling for racing workers in times of need, together with support from RV’s Participant Wellbeing Manager; and
Allocate emergency funding support for stable staff in the advent of a serious racing-related incident.
This follows the recent build by RV and Country Racing Victoria (CRV) of short-term accommodation at RV’s Flemington offices for country-based participants and their families in case of emergency.
RV will implement a two-year subsidy scheme for trainers to assist with rising WorkCover premiums, whilst parallel work occurs to manage claims better and drive down the cost of the system.
The following subsidies will be afforded to Victorian licensed trainers upon presentation of a certificate of currency, a premium notice and evidence of payment thereof:
For FY24 (the 12-month period ending 30 June 2024), trainers will be eligible for a subsidy equivalent to 30% of any increase in WorkCover premiums between FY23 and FY24, measured on a ‘like-for-like’ trading basis. This will be backdated to 1 July 2023 being the commencement of the financial year, noting that the premiums are most often due on a quarterly basis; and
For FY25, the process will be replicated.
The participant wellbeing initiatives and WorkCover subsidy scheme will be funded via a contribution of 1% of prizemoney from 1 February 2024. This will revert to 0.5% of prizemoney from 1 February 2026.
The 1% prizemoney contribution to support trainers and their staff will mirror the long-standing 1% contribution for jockey welfare.
A 2% contribution also occurs for equine welfare to support initiatives, programs and services for horses before, during and after racing.
Hence investment in participant and jockey welfare will now equal investment in equine welfare at 2% of prizemoney.
Prizemoney paid by RV (excluding Club contributions) increased by $75 million, or 38%, from 2018 to 2023.
Quotes attributable to RV Chief Executive, Andrew Jones
“We’re doing more to support trainers and stable staff by getting injured workers healthy and back to work more quickly.
“We are also providing short-term financial support for trainers affected by dramatic recent increases in premiums.
“And we are increasing our investment in ensuring participants enjoy safe and respectful workplaces across racing.
“All three initiatives are critical to the sustainability of our industry.
“We thank the ATA for its collaboration and trust these changes will be supported by all Victorian owners and participants.”
Quotes attributable to ATA President, Robbie Griffiths
“Significant challenges arise every day in our working stables.
“This support - combining financial, workplace injury, and health and safety consulting services and education - will certainly help stables better manage many of their challenges.
“It is a tangible commitment by Racing Victoria for the long-term benefit of all Victorian trainers and their staff, and one that I am sure will be roundly applauded.”