Mining hasn't got a monopoly on sharp growth in WA, with racing's latest major report card showing a big jump in industry spending over the past 10 years.
An economic and social impact report prepared for Racing and Wagering WA says direct expenditure on the industry has soared 74 per cent in real terms since the last assessment in 2003-04 to $550.9 million, with WA's regional areas accounting for just under half.
The report's author, consultancy IER, estimates the total contribution to gross State product, including flow-on economic benefits to the likes of tourism and hospitality, at $594.6 million a year.
Thoroughbred racing accounts for the lion's share (65.5 per cent), ahead of harness racing (22.5 per cent) and greyhound racing (12 per cent). The latter two are more popular, by head of population, in WA than anywhere else in the country.
Describing racing as "an integral part of the WA psyche", Racing Minister Terry Waldron said yesterday the IER report reinforced the industry's economic and social importance to the State.
"Racing is the third-highest attended sporting event in WA behind AFL football and motor racing, which underlines how important the industry is as a source of entertainment to West Australians and visitors to our State," Mr Waldron said.
Nearly 33,700 people are involved in some capacity in racing in WA, with owners (16,745) making up the biggest single component - 84 per cent of them via syndicates. Racing club members account for another 10,000, while the industry employs, both directly and indirectly, an estimated 6700 people.
Some 870 race meetings are hosted every year by the State's 55 clubs, or more than two a day, attracting 870,000 on-course visitors
Racing's popularity is particularly strong in country WA, which accounts for nearly 70 per cent of club membership, anchored by the Kimberley, the South West and Goldfields-Esperance regions.Owners spend $160 million a year preparing racing stock. Research has put the cost of preparing a racehorse over the age of two at $20,000 to $29,000 and a harness horse at $16,000 to $23,000. The cost of readying a greyhound over 12 months was estimated at $7000 to $11,000.
The new magazine for a new generation of West Australians.Click here to download »
All the latest market figures from Australia and the world.Click here »
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.