Tuesday 12 May, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (11:42): I also rise today to support the amendment as put forward by the member for Chaffey. I reiterate the words of the member for Morphett, who is a qualified professional in the veterinary science area. He is a gentleman who knows what he is talking about, and he drew the house's attention to the fact that he saw more horses actually put down in paddocks than because of injuries sustained through jumps. It was very powerful to hear that from a gentleman who had a thorough knowledge of this industry before his time in this place.

The member for Mount Gambier also pointed out truly what the racing industry is about—it is about communities and jobs. I understand that there are concerns we have to consider in relation to animal cruelty and what have you, but I think the key here is to be practical. As a young man, often I would visit some of these tracks, such as Oakbank, not only in this industry but also across other horse industries, whether it be gallops or trots at Globe Derby. These are people who are making a life for themselves and their families, and a lot of the time there is not a whole lot of money in it for them.

With the utmost respect to the racing minister, I struggle to understand why a racing minister, who is supposed to be an advocate for the racing industry and the tourism industry, would want to cast this sort of shadow over the industry. Thank goodness for the member for Chaffey putting forward this amendment. I do not understand why you would want to cast a shadow over the industry and I am glad that the member for Chaffey has made this amendment, which I am happy to support.

This committee will be important because I am hoping that it will separate the fear from the facts. What will these horses do otherwise if they are not involved in jumps? I think this is a question we need to ask ourselves. We have heard from the member for Morphett that a lot of the time these horses do get injured out in the wild, out in the paddocks. What would they do otherwise? I put it to this place that, in my experience, I have found that some horses are treated far better than some humans. We know that they are swabbed, they are vaccinated and that they visit veterinarians quite regularly—their health is their wealth, literally, for much of the time.

I understand that there are concerns around animal cruelty, but I think that you have to be pragmatic about this sort of thing. It is a matter of balancing those animal cruelty concerns against the jobs the industry creates and the families the industry supports, and against the industry that is here. One thing is for sure, these horses are certainly treated much better than Mark Hunt was at the UFC on Sunday; I notice that that occurred over the weekend.

We have been provided with some statistics in relation to jumps racing, and it is notable that the fatality rate from jumps racing over the last 12 years averaged, I believe, 0.64 per cent and for flat racing it was 0.48 per cent; therefore, it cannot be said that there is much difference, particularly having regard to the fact that the figure for flat racing does not include trials and track work, whereas the figure for jumps racing does include trials. I note that there has not been a fatality in jumps racing for some time—I believe since August 2012—and I understand that there has been one horse lost in a trial in that period.

We all know that Oakbank is a significant contributor to our local economy; it generates, it is said, about $11 million to $13 million annually. The average attendance at Oakbank in the last three years, I believe, is 68,000 people, and I understand that we struggle to get an average of anywhere near 10,000 at the Adelaide Cup.

With all respect, I can understand the concerns that have been raised in relation to this industry. I will support the establishment of the committee. I am hoping that the committee will delve into this matter and separate the fear from the facts. By all means, there will be, I am sure, a number of benefits that will come out of this committee, but we do need to measure that idealism against that pragmatic approach to see this industry for what it is: it is an industry, it supports jobs and it supports livelihoods. We cannot ignore the animal cruelty factor, of course, but we need to look at these things on balance.