Backpackers will still work despite tax
Donna Duncan A lot of these communities, including Childers, heavily rely on the money backpackers spend in town.
FRUIT-picking backpackers who come to Childers on a working holiday will be taxed from the first dollar they earn under a new budget proposal that shows the government is leaving no stone unturned in finding funds.
However, Childers Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association secretary and local farmer Donna Duncan does not believe this will lead to less backpackers coming to the region.
Up until now, visitors could be treated as Australians under the tax rules if they were in the country for more than six months. That meant they could earn up to $18,200 without contributing to government coffers.
Under the new plan, these adventuring tourists would be treated as “non-residents”.
By hitting travellers immediately with this tax, the government hopes to funnel an extra $540 million into its coffers over five years.
Mrs Duncan said as long as backpackers were being paid the correct wage then they would be okay.
“Most of the European backpackers need to have their return fare paid before they leave,” she said.
“The rest of the money they will spend in the town they live.”
Mrs Duncan said if backpackers stopped coming to Childers then the community would lobby the government to rethink its policy.
“A lot of these communities, including Childers, heavily rely on the money backpackers spend in town,” she said.
“And the ripple effect isn’t just with farmers but the entire community.”