Meet in the middle
North Burnett community wants a 15% backpacker tax
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.