Industry concern over backpacker tax increases

Presented by

The Australian farming industry is worried about the impact that increasing tax on working backpackers will have on the availability of seasonal workers. The Australian farming industry is worried about the impact that increasing tax on working backpackers will have on the availability of seasonal workers. The Australian farming industry is worried about the impact that increasing tax on working backpackers will have on the availability of seasonal workers.

UPDATE: Following the uproar over the backpackers tax, assistant treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer has announced it will be pushed back until January 2017, pending the outcome of a government review.


Speaking on the federal election campeign trail at at Narangba in Queensland, minister Joyce says a desicion will be made later this year.

"I hear the issue, it’s a classic example of where we hear the issue and we work towards a form of resolution – now watch this space – we’re not blind to this.

"Any issues with the backpacker tax we are at work and will find a resolution."

 

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has condemned the Australian Government for failing to drop a proposed tax increase for backpackers in this year’s Budget.

The tax would see all working non-resident holidaymakers taxed at a rate of 32.5 per cent on all income from July 1 this year.

The Government expects to raise $540 million from the tax in its first four years, but it may discourage foreign workers from opting to work and live in Australia on working holiday visas.

NFF president Brent Finlay says he is dissapointed at the delay.

"There were literally thousands of farming families, agricultural businesses and tourism operators who were desperately hoping the backpacker tax, in its current form, would be abandoned in the Budget," he says.

"We have received more than 31,000 signatures on a petition opposing this measure.

"We have banded together, both as an industry and across sectors, to show that the negative impacts will be wide-reaching and felt by thousands of Australian families.

"It is now time for the Government to respond to the risk imposed on the sector by a measure that will chase working holiday makers away from Australia and, in the process, decimate the agricultural workforce."

The NFF says it will continue to advocate for the backpacker tax to be ruled out altogether, in the lead up to the election.

"Members of the Turnbull Government are putting their own political interests ahead of the agriculture sector, the tourism sector, and the regional economies which rely on them," Federal shadow minister for agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon says.

"In the Budget the Government booked the revenue it will receive from the backpacker’s tax over the next four years."

The Abbott Government flagged this year’s backpacker tax in last year’s budget.

"Employers in the tourism and agriculture sectors felt the impact immediately, as prospective backpackers turned their interest to other countries," ahead of the tax’s implementation, Fitzgibbon says.

"The damage caused to both the sectors and regional economies by 12 months of dysfunction and political stubbornness has been significant.

"It’s past time members of the Turnbull Government focused on the needs of the agriculture and tourism sectors rather than the election outcome."

Joyce has also made a statement on new funding for farmers that will be funded by increasing the tax on seasonal farm workers on working holiday visas, including strengthening the Farm Management Deposit (FMD) scheme.

"Farm Management Deposits help farmers salt away income generated in good years so they can draw upon it during tough times," Joyce says.

"From 1 July the deposit cap for FMDs will increase from $400,000 to $800,000, and financial institutions will be able to offer FMDs as farm business loan offset accounts."

The Budget also includes $2.97 billion in support to help farmers and rural communities recover from drought.

"We have provided certainty for in-drought concessional loans for the next decade," Joyce says.

"I am all about delivering results rather than rhetoric for Australian farmers and this initiative clearly shows the importance the government places on the contribution rural communities make to keeping Australia’s agriculture sector and economy strong."

 

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook