A review of the backpacker tax has been applauded by WAFarmers, after the Federal Government admitted that the proposal could damage the Australian agriculture and tourism industries.
The decision comes off the back of extensive petitioning against the proposal by WAFarmers, the National Farmers Federation and state farming organisations, in addition to backlash from other industry representatives and both current and prospective backpackers.
Tourism Minister Senator Richard Colbeck said that “legitimate concerns” had been raised about the impact the tax would have on global competitiveness, and conceded that the backpacker workforce was too valuable to the Australian economy to warrant progressing with the proposal.
WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown said the Federation welcomed the commitment to reviewing the proposed tax which, if put into effect, would seriously damage the agricultural industry.
“The importance of backpackers on both the agricultural and tourism industries cannot be overstated, and the introduction of the original proposal would have had dire consequences on both these sectors,” Mr Brown said.
“Even prior to the announcement of the proposed tax, backpacker numbers were on the decline, and we have received feedback from numerous sources indicating that this trend would not only continue, but would do so at an alarming rate.
“The Federal Government’s commitment to finding an alternative revenue-neutral solution demonstrates just how important this issue is to the future of the Australian economy, and we are thrilled to have been part of the advocacy process on behalf of our members and the Western Australian agricultural sector.”
Mr Brown said WAFarmers looked forward to receiving an alternative proposal, and would welcome discussions with the government to reach an agreeable outcome.
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].