Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has welcomed the Government decision to end speculation about the backpacker tax. Ms McGowan said farmers and ag tourism operators would be pleased the tax increase for backpacker workers is going to be reconsidered.
“Farmers, ag tourism operators and major stakeholders have been calling for the Government to act since February this year and will welcome this commmonsense decision,” Ms McGowan said. “Proposed changes have already had a significant impact on the horticulture and food production sector in regional Australia and Indi.”
“Backpackers have made it very clear this tax increase would deter them from coming to Australia for work, businesses were concerned they would not have the labour for operating and harvesting, and local economies would have been impacted.”
Ms McGowan congratulated local farmers and ag tourism operators, the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and the National Farmers’ Federation for the robust campaign calling on the Government to change its policy for taxing backpackers.
“This was a local issue and I understood how the increase would impact business,” Ms McGowan said. “Thanks to the effective lobbying of my constituents and the industry, this decision has been delayed.”
In Question Time in February this year, Ms McGowan asked Treasurer Scott Morrison to do a backflip on the tax increase to help farmers, food producers and tourism operators. A week later the Government announced a review into the backpacker tax.
“Farmers and tourism operators were desperately waiting for the findings of the review to be made public,” Ms McGowan said.
The review will report in October, before any new measures are introduced on 1 January, 2017.