Chairman's Message to Industry - Base Prizemoney Restored

25 June 2020

Dear Participant,

In my “Message to Industry” of 1 May, 2020 it was my very unpleasant task to advise that as a result of the necessary Covid-19 restrictions introduced by Government, faced with a dramatic downturn in wagering revenue, HRNSW had reluctantly found it necessary to impose a raft of austerity measures.

The austerity measures implemented were predicated on:

* The need to continue racing;
* The provision of a revenue flow [albeit reduced in what hopefully would prove to be the short term] to industry participants;
* The need to reduce the risk to the future viability of the Industry should the Covid-19 restrictions persist; and
* The ability to put aside as quickly as possible the prizemoney reductions adopted as and when circumstances permit.

At the time of writing the NSW TAB had been directly and materially impacted by the restrictions put in place, in particular the need to close on 23 March,2020 its various retail outlets throughout Australia including those in hotels and clubs. There were some 3850 outlets closed with no indication from Government as to when these premises would be permitted to re-open. The TAB historically provides circa 60% of the total wagering revenue of our Industry.

As you are well aware the savings measures put in place included a reduction in base prizemoney of 20% effective from 11 May, 2020 [some six weeks later than similar reductions introduced interstate].

The decision to reduce base prizemoney was certainly not a pleasant or easy one as all arms of the Industry [including HRNSW] wished otherwise. It was the last saving measure adopted and an undertaking was given by HRNSW that it would be the first put aside when wagering revenue improved.

In that regard, with the recent easing of certain of the Covid-19 restrictions by Government, specifically those which have permitted the re-opening of TAB outlets throughout the State, revised wagering revenue forecasts provided by TabCorp, increased revenue via the transference of wagering investment to other operators as well as the various other austerity measures put in place, on behalf of the Board and Management of HRNSW I am pleased to advise that:

From 1 July, 2020 base prizemoney for A and B category meeting races will be restored to $6500 and $6000 respectively.

The current review of prizemoney differentials is to continue and after a further period of Industry consultation, is expected to be completed in August, 2020.

The NSW harness racing fraternity can be justifiably proud of its respect of and strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols that have been put in place and with a continuation of that responsible attitude I believe we can all be confident that the Industry will emerge from these challenging times in a better place.

Yours faithfully,

Ken Brown AM