Backflip is needed on #backpackertax
Posted February 10, 2016
CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:42): Member for Canning, you have sympathies from us in Victoria as well. Please know that we are thinking of you and your families.
Today I rise to give my support to the Victorian Farmers Federation and the National Farmers' Federation and their campaign to call on the government to change its policy for taxing overseas workers. The 'backpacker tax' will increase from 19 per cent to 32.5 per cent from 1 July onwards. I support an effective tax rate, as suggested by the VFF, of 19 per cent.
This increase will have a major negative impact on agriculture and food production. In my electorate this sector includes vineyards, hops, cherries, dairy, grain, olives, small organic farms and many tourist businesses. These businesses are reliant on temporary workers to provide labour at important times of the year.
Carolyn Suggate from Organics Futures in Bonnie Doon, Swanpool farmer Mark Folletta and tourism operator Kath Baird from Bogong Horseback Adventures are examples of three Indi businesses which are very concerned that the increased tax will be a disincentive for backpackers and visitors coming to north-east Victoria to work.
Backpackers working in Australia earn about $15,000 on average and fill a vital need during our harvest time. So I join with the Victorian Farmers Federation and NFF, and I call on my colleagues opposite—all the National Party and regional members of parliament—to stand up. We want a backflip on this tax. I call on the government to seek a win-win with the tourism industry and with agriculture.