Backpacker tax saga over, farmers breathe sigh of relief

Farmers across the country are breathing a sigh of relief, with the Greens supporting the Federal Government’s 15 per cent tax rate for backpackers in Parliament today.

Leader of the Greens Richard Di Natale announced that his nine senators would support the rate, and said their decision would introduce certainty for farmers and the environment. With their support and that of other crossbenchers, the Bills are expected to pass the Senate tonight.

“This solution is welcomed by WAFarmers,” WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown said. 

“We’ve finally got certainty after 18 months of deliberation, and growers can now breathe easier knowing that there will continue to be a supply of working holiday makers ready and willing to pick their produce.

“It also ensures that Australia remains an attractive competitive nation in which to holiday and work.

“Australia’s 40,000 backpackers contribute approximately $3.5 billion to the economy and their presence in Australia boosts not only productivity in the agricultural sector, but also communities and businesses which rely on tourism spending, so the decision to back the 15 per cent tax rate really is a no-brainer.”

The decision will see backpackers’ superannuation taxed at 65 per cent, and will include an injection of $100 million to Landcare projects.

Mr Brown said the agricultural, tourism and hospitality sectors had been on tenterhooks for some time, particularly in recent weeks, and that the collective efforts of industry should be applauded.

“WAFarmers, alongside the National Farmers’ Federation, state farming organisations and other industry bodies, has campaigned tirelessly to see a sensible decision reached on this issue,” he said.

“Together, we’ve been through highs and lows, and have heard firsthand how the varied suggestions for tax rates would affect the livelihoods of farmers and their families.

“Despite some trying times, we have never lost sight of our goal, and we applaud and thank everyone involved for their dedication and ongoing support for the agricultural industry on this issue, particularly Sarah McKinnon and the team at the NFF.”

ENDS.

All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].

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