Peak body applauds slashing controversial backpacker tax

Horticulture’s peak body applauds Government slashing controversial backpacker tax
Voice of Horticulture has congratulated the Federal Government for finally making a decision to dump the controversial budget plan of a 32.5 per cent tax on backpackers and for listening to industry concerns. Instead the Government will implement a 19 per cent tax on the first dollar backpackers earn from January 1, 2017 – industry’s initial proposed figure.
Chair, Tania Chapman said the focus must now be on getting the message to all potential backpacker labour that Australia is ready for their workforce and now, for certain, has a realistic tax rate where they can have a working holiday.
The decision comes following a government review into the backpacker tax following concerns the tax would be a deterrent for holiday makers to work in Australia, and would deprive regional communities of a valuable source of income and labour.
“Of concern, is that many backpackers will have already booked their alternative ‘working holiday’ destination so we must come out strong and loud and let them know that the proposed 32.5 per cent tax has been slashed and is no longer on the table.” Ms Chapman stressed.
“The one positive outcome to evolve from the Federal Government’s Review into the tax was that the age cap for working backpackers has now risen from 30 to 35 years of age.
“Hopefully this will widen the pool of people coming into the country to work and assist in filling the gap that is already being felt since the earlier backpacker tax announcement.”
Ms Chapman said growers across the country had noted a 40 per cent decrease in backpackers applying for seasonal work.
“This 40 per cent decline is of concern not only to the growers but also to the rural and regional communities where these backpackers spend 75 to 80 per cent of their weekly wages.” she added.
Ms Chapman also said that whilst the Voice of Horticulture welcomed the decision, it was important that the industry continued to monitor the number of working holiday visa holders coming to Australia.