Independent member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has welcomed the Government’s decision to review the proposed backpacker tax increase.
“This is a commonsense decision. This tax increase would have a major negative impact on agriculture and food production across regional Australia,” Ms McGowan said.
Minister for Tourism, Senator Richard Colbeck, announced the review today. Agriculture, industry, immigration and employment portfolios will be consulted during the review. No timeline for the review has been set.
On February 11 in Question Time, Ms McGowan asked Treasurer Scott Morrison to do a backflip on the tax increase to help farmers, food producers and tourism operators. In his response Mr Morrison said the Government was seeking to rectify an anomaly to ensure that overseas workers paid their fair share of tax.
In a speech on February 10, Ms McGowan told Parliament that the increase would have widespread negative impact across the electorate. Carolyn Suggate from Organics Futures in Bonnie Doon, Swanpool farmer Mark Folletta and tourism operator
Kath Baird from Bogong Horseback Adventures were among the many constituents who contacted Ms McGowan with concerns about the proposed tax increase.
“This has the potential to be a major disincentive for backpackers and visitors coming to north-east Victoria to work,” Ms McGowan said.
Vineyards, hops, cherries, dairy, grain, olives, small organic farms and many tourism businesses in Indi rely on temporary workers.
“Businesses are reliant on temporary workers to provide labour at important times of the year,” she said.
Ms McGowan congratulated the National Farmers’ Federation and Victorian Farmers Federation for taking a leadership role in calling on the Government to change its policy.
“The backpacker tax proposal would see an increase from 19 per cent to 32.5 per cent from 1 July onwards. I support an effective tax rate of 19 per cent, as suggested by the VFF,” Ms McGowan said.
Kath Baird is available for comment - 0428 544 849