Future of backpacker tax needs clarification

Approximately 40,000 backpackers work on farms each year, and generate more than $3.5 billion to the Australian economy. This significant income stream is under threat if the Federal Government does not take on board recommendations from industry.

WAFarmers calls on the Federal Government to provide details on the future of the backpacker tax, following reports that the government does not intend to reconsider the proposed tax or apply recommendations from key industry stakeholders.

Ahead of next week’s Federal Budget, reports have emerged that the Federal Government has simply ignored key recommendations from the internal review, the opinions of over 30,000 petitioners and the combined efforts of all those involved in the backpacker tax campaign.

Presently, the proposal would see backpackers taxed 32.5 per cent and the tax free threshold would be removed, both of which would cause irreparable damage to the Australian economy.

WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown said WAFarmers would strongly encourage the government to take on board key recommendations in their decision-making process.

“While full details will be made available at the Federal Budget next week, we hope the reports are incorrect and that the government will do what is needed to ensure the continuation of a strong and productive industry,” Mr Brown said.

“Given our thorough participation in advocating against the proposed backpacker tax alongside the National Farmers Federation, other industry organisations and individual working holiday-makers, we would be disappointed if the government proceeded with the proposal without implementing any recommendations.”

Mr Brown explained that the agricultural sector would face severe labour shortages if the proposal were to proceed as it currently stands.

“There is no doubt that the current proposal will significantly harm the Australian economy, particularly in the agricultural and tourism sectors, and we cannot believe that the Federal Government does not appear to be taking this issue seriously,” he said.

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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