IT’S hard to know who looked the silliest in the debate last week over the backpacker tax.
Fortunately for our agriculture industry – but especially up here our tourism industry – the matter was resolved at the 11th hour.
But it should never have been a sword hanging over our industry for 18 months in the first place.
And when it came down to getting it wrapped up before the close of Parliament last week, dumb got even dumber as various parties argued over fairly small differences. Fifteen or 13 per cent tax rate – who cares, compared with the risk that, if left unresolved, the default 32.5 per cent rate would soon have kicked in and wrecked our backpacker market.
Backpackers are an important source of labour and consumers for our region and having the government mess with it all was a ridiculous state of affairs.
That it turned into a circus run by opportunistic point-scorers in Canberra shows how little the real world matters to them.
THE situation with the shire’s attempt to secure the land at Yule Point for Paws and Claws is another deplorable political mess.
Interestingly, the mayor said on radio that there had been “just one, just one” objection to the DSC’s application for the land. It seems one objection is enough to de-rail something that is in the vastly greater public good. It would need to be a very substantial and respectable objection indeed.
If not, the objection itself is objectionable, and shame on the minister for being so swayed by it.
Or if it’s not his fault, then accepting blithely the advice of the department involved.
Perhaps we will all be enlightened on this point in due course.