Kat­ter calls for farm­ers to bat­tle against tax

Tablelands Advertiser - - NEWS - Kather­ine Kokko­nen

FED­ERAL Mem­ber for Kennedy Bob Kat­ter has called for farm­ers to fight back against the back­packer tax or risk get­ting hit again.

Mr Kat­ter said the 17 per cent tax, con­sist­ing of a 15 per cent tax on back­packer earn­ings plus 2 per cent in su­per­an­nu­a­tion, was an­other un­fair cost to farm­ers.

He said farm­ers “had no fight left in them” but they must join to­gether and rally against the tax. “I want rage,” he said. “They have got to stand up and fight or they will just keep hit­ting you.”

“Every sin­gle per­son that I know in this area was tena­ciously op­posed to a back­packer tax of any type at all.”

Mr Kat­ter blasted in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tions for let­ting their mem­bers down over the is­sue.

“If they had stood their ground, there would have been no charge at all,” he said.

“I just can­not count the num­ber of times that our in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tions have sold us out.”

Ma­reeba District Fruit and Veg­etable Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Joe Moro said Mr Kat­ter was en­ti­tled to his opin­ion but he was mis­in­formed about the is­sue.

Mr Moro said while a few farm­ers would have liked to see a lower tax, or no tax at all, most farm­ers were happy the is­sue had been re­solved.

“Gen­er­ally the in­dus­try and the farm­ers up here are happy that we’ve fi­nally moved forward,” he said.

“Fif­teen per cent was what the Ma­reeba District Fruit and Veg­etable Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion sug­gested.

“Back­pack­ers are very im­por­tant to the econ­omy, but at the same time they should be con­tribut­ing some­thing to the costs of us­ing our in­fras­truc­ture.”

Mr Moro said Mr Kat­ter should fo­cus on en­sur­ing back­pack­ers con­tin­ued to travel here rather than cre­at­ing more un­cer­tainty about the tax.

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