Industry Reacts Badly and Quickly to Backpacker Blindside

Farming and Agriculture Groups have all come out swinging following Labor’s last minute de-rail of the amended Backpacker tax compromise.

farm-worker4Peak Horticulture body, Growcom has described the moves in the senate as “A Nightmare” for growers, while AgForce says it’s time to vote the 15% tax in and get on with it.

The National Farmers Federation has deplored the senate moves and says enough is enough.

Growcom Chief Advocate Rachel Mackenzie says that growers across Queensland are absolutely crushed by the rejection of the compromise position of a 15 per cent tax rate for backpackers.

“The new rate of 10.5 per cent voted on in the Senate must now go back to the House of Representatives and it seems unlikely the Coalition will back it. This game of political brinkmanship must end.”

“A 10.5 per cent tax rate that does not get passed this week is worth nothing to our growers, because it means the default position of 32.5 per cent comes into play on 1 January.”

Ms Mackenzie says that 15 per cent was strongly supported by the key horticultural regions in Queensland as it is equivalent to the rate currently paid by seasonal workers under the Government’s Seasonal Worker Programme.

“It also leaves backpackers with enough money in their pockets to spend in regional communities.”

AgForce has added to the chorus of condemnation.

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says the backpacker tax stalemate had gone on far too long and Queensland farmers just wanted the issue resolved once and for all.

“Enough is enough. It’s time common sense prevailed. We need this issue resolved so everyone can move on from a debate that has been and continues to be so damaging for our agricultural and tourism industries.”