The Australian Jockeys' Association's primary function is to Promote the educational, industrial health and safety interests for jockeys; and negotiate for and develop Australia wide protection, including insurance (particularly Public Liability), superannuation and a pension fund, on behalf of all jockeys.
The AJA was incorporated in 2005 and each State or Territory is represented by two delegates. Regular Directors’ meetings are held by teleconference and an Annual General Meeting is held.
Since its formation, the AJA has grown in stature and effectiveness; it has achieved some significant milestones on behalf of jockeys. These include:
Public Liability Insurance for jockeys was established in 2002 and the premiums were paid by jockeys as a cost impost on their Riding Fees, (ie) on a per ride basis.
The National Jockeys Trust (NJT) was established in 2004 to assist injured jockeys and their families, who met the ‘necessitous circumstances’ requirements of the Trust Deed. Sponsorship from JAYCO Australia and LUCRF Super has provided funding to the trust.
Following a significant campaign by the AJA in 2007-09, an agreement with the Australian Racing Board that 1% of national industry Prizemoney, or its equivalent, be allocated each year to fund jockeys Public Liability Insurance, Personal Accident Insurance, and various Welfare programs came into effect on 1 July 2009.
From 1 July 2009 Australian jockeys agreed to make a contribution to the AJA from their riding fees to assist the national peak body with general administration costs.
Safety, Health and Welfare improvements have been negotiated with Principal Racing Authorities (PRA) on a regular basis, including safer tracks and protective riding gear and the provision of both a Sports Physician and Psychologist in each State or Territory to assist injured or affected riders.
Improved Workers Compensation conditions across the States & Territories have also been negotiated with the respective governments to achieve reasonable payments, when riders are injured or suffer career ending injuries from such a high risk profession.
Following an internal submission and senior counsel advice, the AJA requested a review by the Australian Tax Office [ATO] as to whether jockeys were entitled to Super Guarantee payments on their riding fees. A positive determination was received from the ATO and Super Guarantee payments by the industry on jockey riding fees commenced on 1 July 2014.
The ATO also agreed that the PRA’s or Clubs should make retrospective payments prior to 1 July 2014, for up to 5 years, provided the jockey could provide documentary proof of their rides and payments. The retrospective payments are currently a matter of Appeal, lodged by Racing Queensland and the Scone Race Club. The matter is expected to be heard by the Federal Court during 2016.