Katter calls for farmers to battle against tax
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.