Australian racing interests put the cost of the country's equine influenza outbreak at $A1 billion.
The Australian Racing Board (ARB) estimate does not include the cost of eradication efforts and support to the industry given by the government in the wake of the outbreak which began in August last year.
The ARB says the $1b estimate results from:
- A week-long Australia-wide shutdown of all race meetings.
- Extended paralysis of racing in New South Wales and Queensland, including loss of the
Sydney Spring Carnival and the Queensland Summer Carnival.
- Substantial disruption to the breeding sector, including a 10% fall in the number
- Loss of export sales. Trade with Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong is only now being restored, it says.
- Delays in transport overseas to Hong Kong and elsewhere of horses sold before
- Devastation of racehorse careers (with each infected horse taking about three months to return to work), and horse-movement restrictions preventing champion horses competing interstate.
- Loss of industry wagering income, both immediate (an Australia-wide downturn in wagering attributable to the absence of NSW and Queensland races), and potentially medium term.
- Substantial losses to states that were able to continue racing, but still saw revenues decline because of the forced vacuum of metropolitan racing in Sydney and Brisbane. In Victoria alone, losses attributed to EI have been put at $15 million.)
- Workforce dislocation, with the prospect of some former workforce participants having been permanently lost to other industries.
On top of that, the federal government has so far spent more than $A342 million eradicating the virus and in financial assistance to individuals, organisations and businesses.