Govt decision on backpacker tax ‘unacceptable’: WAFarmers

WAFarmers has condemned the Federal Government for not changing the proposed backpacker tax following recommendations from key industry stakeholders.

In last night’s Federal Budget, it was confirmed that the proposed tax of 32.5 per cent and the removal of the tax free threshold for backpackers would remain unchanged. This followed reports late last week that recommendations from key industry stakeholders would not be included in the proposal.

WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown said the move was unacceptable, and would cause irreparable damage to the Australian economy.

“We are thoroughly disappointed that the advocacy efforts of WAFarmers, the National Farmers Federation, other industry organisations and individual working holiday makers appear to have been in vain,” Mr Brown said.

“Despite constructive and open discussion during a round-table workshop with Federal Ministers and Senators last month, during which the interests of WAFarmers and other Western Australian stakeholders were represented, it appears our recommendations have simply been ignored.

“This is an extremely disappointing result, and appears to be a way of the government taking the easiest way out of a highly contentious issue.”

Mr Brown confirmed that the issue was far from over, and WAFarmers would continue to consult with industry to ensure a fair and sustainable model is developed.

“The number of working holiday makers is on the decline. The government’s decision will only exacerbate this trend and reduce income and productivity for the agricultural and tourism industries, in particular,” Mr Brown explained.

“While the onus is now on the government to deliver strong returns from this disappointing result, WAFarmers will continue to work alongside key industry stakeholders and advocate for the agricultural industry on this critical issue.

“Should the government realise they have made a mistake in progressing the original proposal without including key recommendations, we would welcome further discussion and engagement.”

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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