Australian Stock Horse
Mr DAVID CAMPBELL (Keira—Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Illawarra, and Minister for Small Business) [5.14 p.m.]: The New South Wales Government is securing the international reputation of the Australian stock horse, an Aussie icon that has links to the nation's colonial past. We are giving the Scone-based Australian Stock Horse Society $67,000 to employ a development officer who will develop extra export opportunities for this unique, true-blue breed. The bloodlines of the Australian stock horse date back to the First Fleet, with horses brought out in those early days being selectively bred for strength, stamina, reliability and versatility.
Australian stock horses have been immortalised by Banjo Paterson, revered by the military, and favoured by graziers. They are the choice of polo players, campdrafters, dressage riders and other equestrians, including showjumpers. Few things are more Australian. No-one could fail to be moved by the incredible spectacle of Australian stock horses at work. Country people know the value of this breed, and any Sydneysider who has seen these horses starring at the Royal Easter Show will welcome the State Government's support for the Australian stock horse. The Australian Stock Horse Society, which has 1,500 members Australiawide, was formed in 1971 to preserve and promote the breed. It now employs 10 people.
The dream of the society to export this remarkable horse was fuelled partly by the opening ceremony for the 2000 Olympics, which incorporated probably the most impressive showcase of the Australian stock horse ever seen. This is a demonstration of another legacy from the 2000 Olympics held in Sydney. The opening ceremony presented the Australian stock horse to billions of television viewers all over the world, and reinforced its reputation as the breed for every need. The Hunter is well known as the centre for the State's thoroughbred industry, which injects $100 million a year into the New South Wales economy. This grant will further enhance the region's reputation as the Kentucky of Australia.
Mr IAN ARMSTRONG (Lachlan) [5.16 p.m.]: It is with great pleasure that I respond to the Minister. I was one of the founding members of the Australian Stock Horse Society and I have continued to be a member since its formation. My wife and I still show stock horses. I was heavily involved in the world's longest continuous ride, from Broom to the Opera House, which took place during the 2000 Olympics. The Australian Stock Horse Society is the largest breed society of horses in this country. Considerable exports have been made, particularly of campdrafters and polocrosse horses. The Australian Stock Horse Society embraces campdrafting horses, hacks, working horses, polocrosse and polo horses, as well as harness horses and, from time to time, jumpers.
Australian stock horses were heavily involved in the 2000 Olympics. They provided many of the fill-in spots between equestrian events. Many of the horses that jumped for Australia were registered with the Australian Stock Horse Society. The Government's support for the society is most welcome. I am quite sure that there is a significant market, particularly in the United States of America and Zimbabwe, for Australian stock horses. Some of the bloodlines, such as the Abbey and Cadet, are unique and are eagerly sought out. It is good news that this wonderful association, which is made up of very modest people, has been recognised in this way. I join with the Minister in wishing them well in this project.