No time for uncertainty in backpacker tax saga

Comments by the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources to “watch this space” regarding to the backpacker tax issue have been criticised by WAFarmers.

Speaking from Queensland yesterday, Minister Barnaby Joyce said the government was working towards a resolution, but that the public and industry groups had to now “watch this space”.

WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown said there was no time for uncertainty as backpackers had already started making their decision.

“With the proposed tax having remained unchanged after last week’s Federal Budget, the future of working-holiday options for backpackers continues to look less and less appealing,” Mr Brown said.

“Already the increase is affecting the availability of backpackers, with some having changed their travel plans to other destinations with more attractive pay incentives.

“One week the State and Federal Governments are telling everybody that agriculture is the next big industry in Australia, the next they are stifling the ability for this to occur with this proposed tax.

“Premier and Tourism Minister Colin Barnett needs to be our champion on this alongside Agriculture Minister Dean Nalder, and together they must implore the Federal Government to redirect their attentions towards making a quick decision.

“Clearly there is no time for uncertainty – now is the time to act, otherwise the future of the agricultural and tourism industries and the livelihoods of regional and rural communities will be very bleak indeed.”

WAFarmers slammed the Federal Government for not changing the proposed backpacker tax in last week’s Federal Budget, stating that the decision would cause irreparable damage to the Australian economy.

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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