Meet in the mid­dle

North Bur­nett com­mu­nity wants a 15% back­packer tax

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Tobi.Loftus@cnbtimes.com.au PHOTO: TOBI LOFTUS Tobi Loftus

THE North Bur­nett com­mu­nity has unan­i­mously agreed it would like to see the back­packer tax sit around the 15% mark, sim­i­lar to the Sea­sonal Work­ers Scheme.

The de­ci­sion was reached at a meet­ing on Novem­ber 16 at the Mun­dub­bera Coun­cil Cham­bers, which was hosted by Mayor Rachel Cham­bers and Labor Se­na­tor Chris Ket­ter.

Gayn­dah cit­rus grower Judy Shep­herd told the meet­ing the 19% tax pro­posed by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was no bet­ter than the orig­i­nal 32.5% tax.

“It’s about a $1 dif­fer­ent, I’ve worked it out,” Mrs Shep­herd said.

“It’s not go­ing to cut it, the back­pack­ers are not go­ing to come.”

Mrs Shep­herd said she thought Labor was try­ing to play pol­i­tics with its 10.5% pro­posal.

She said she agreed with a 15% tax rate for back­pack­ers and asked for Se­na­tor Ket­ter to ne­go­ti­ate with the gov­ern­ment to achieve it.

“That would be the most po­lit­i­cally as­tute thing for the Labor Party to do,” she said.

“We are al­ready mad at the gov­ern­ment, but you’re now just giv­ing us a rea­son to be mad at you as well.”

Mr Ket­ter said there was some com­mon­sense in the 15% rate.

“We are try­ing to get the best out­come for the farm­ers, I make no apol­ogy for that, and we will con­tinue to fight to get the best deal,” he said.

“We have a 10.5% propo­si­tion, which we be­lieve there is some sup­port in the par­lia­ment for it.”

If the Sen­ate does not vote on the tax next week the 32.5% rate will come into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1.

DE­CI­SION MADE: Rachel Cham­bers and Chris Ket­ter met with a num­ber of cit­rus grow­ers in Mun­dub­bera.

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