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February 28, 2021

Hogan welcomes backpacker tax delay

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The so-called ‘backpacker’ tax, which would see young people on working holiday visas pay tax from their first dollar earned, has been shelved ahead of the election. (AAP)
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Page MP Kevin Hogan has welcomed the government’s decision to delay introduction of the controversial backpacker tax.

It was feared the move to remove tax-free thresholds from overseas travellers would discourage fruit pickers and harm tourism when it was due to come into effect from July 1, since foreign seasonal workers would be slugged with 32.5 cents from the first dollar they earn.

But the opposition is critical of the timing of the announcement, saying it is merely putting off the unpopular move until after the election.

‘I am very happy that the tax will not be introduced from July 1,’ Mr Hogan said.

‘Our farmers face ongoing challenges to secure an adequate workforce to pick the blueberries, harvest macadamias, process meat and milk cows.

‘We have the opportunity to double our agricultural production to meet growing global food and demand – but we need a workforce to do so.’

The proposal to introduce the tax will now be reviewed as part of a larger review of workforce shortages faced by the agriculture and tourism industries. It will report by October, allowing any changes to be introduced by 1 January 2017.

‘Working holiday makers are an important source of workers for agriculture, with more than 90 per cent of second year working holiday maker visa holders having worked in agriculture in their first year in Australia,’ Mr Hogan said.

‘I, and many of my National Party colleagues, have been talking with local farmers and our communities who are concerned that backpackers may choose not to come to Australia if they have to pay the proposed tax.

‘As a result, the government has agreed to review the tax and defer the introduction of this tax for six months.

The tax was expected to raise $540 million over four years

But Labor’s agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon is dubious of the announcement’s timing.

‘This is just a stunt to push the issue beyond the election,’ he told AAP.

‘It sends all the wrong signals to backpackers, many of whom are making the decision to travel to New Zealand or Canada instead of Australia.’

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3 COMMENTS

  1. How typical of the Liberal/National minority government,
    First of all they set up the ‘battlers’ (multi-national corporations ) to run primary industries that are so poorly managed that they must rely on poorly paid backpackers,so poorly paid, that can’t make ends meet if they are taxed at the same rate applicable to Australian workers. Never mind the Australians though, we the people must subsidise these failed businesses by paying the income tax for their overseas workers, who are taking any work that should be available to the rural workers of Australia.
    Mr Hogan said, ‘Our farmers face ongoing challenges to secure an adequate workforce to pick the blueberries, harvest macadamias, process meat and milk cows.’….. and serve their drinks, clean their homes and perform their parental duties, I have no doubt !
    How about they just pay fair wages and proper penalty rates, and they will get all their workers at the “market rate” . Isn’t that the mantra of these far right wing fascist groups when it suits their bank accounts, in which ever tax- free haven they happen to be ?

  2. Notice that the backpacker tax has been delayed not shelved. Typical nats response in satisfied with a delay until after the election. Similar with pathology payments, not shelved but delayed to after the election. Again we see the Nationals not standing for anything- all talk but don’t challenge their coalition partners.

  3. Back packers have always been taxed same as Australians.
    The stupid change was to tax them at a much higher rate of 32.5% on the very first dollar they got.
    Imagine the outrage if young Aussies got taxed 32.5% on the first dollar they earn.
    As far as saying they are poorly paid they get the casual award which is about $22 an hour possibly the world’s highest minimum wage, underpay them and you can get a $200,000 fine.

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