Re­lief on back­packer tax

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Madi­son Wil­liams

TOURISM op­er­a­tors have had a re­prieve from the pos­si­ble in­tro­duc­tion of a higher tax ar­range­ment for back­pack­ers.

In a sur­prise move yes­ter­day the Turn­bull gov­ern­ment de­ferred the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a 32.5 per cent back­packer tax for six months as of July 1.

The news came as a re­lief to lo­cal tourism op­er­a­tors, the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try and the agri­cul­tural sec­tor who rely heav­ily on the back­packer work­force.

The pol­icy will un­dergo a re­view process and op­er­a­tors will be given an op­por­tu­nity to voice their opin­ions.

Le­ich­hardt MP War­ren Entsch said it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to gain a com­pre­hen­sive in­sight be­fore im­ple­ment­ing a “rushed pol­icy”.

“By de­fer­ring the tax for six months, this gives in­dus­try and stake­hold­ers plenty of time to take part in the re­view process,” said Mr Entsch.

“They are say­ing that the tax will have a ma­jor im­pact on Aus­tralia’s abil­ity to at­tract and re­tain sea­sonal hol­i­day work­ers, so now they have an ap­pro­pri­ate op­por­tu­nity to demon­strate this.”

The Aus­tralian Tourism Ex­port Coun­cil (ATEC) wel­comed the news but said the re­view still cre­ated un­cer­tain­ity for po­ten­tial vis­i­tors.

“With a re­view sched­uled for early 2017, it leaves back­pack­ers con­sid­er­ing an Aus­tralian hol­i­day un­sure of what to ex­pect and this will only fur­ther en­cour­age them to con­sider and al­ter­na­tive such as New Zealand or an Asian des­ti­na­tion,” said ATEC man­ag­ing direc­tor peter Shel­ley.

“This re­view must go be­yond ad­dress­ing labour needs and also look at the tour­sim in­dus­try and the neg­a­tive mes­sage we are send­ing..”

English back­packer Natalie Sex­ton

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