AUSVEG: Flawed tax must go
BEFORE its introduction, the agricultural industry argued that introducing a backpacker tax would deter working holiday-makers from coming to the country and have a severe impact on the horticulture industry.
AUSVEG chief executive James Whiteside said it was disappointing the government hadn’t listened.
“It is disappointing that the decision to implement the backpacker tax, which industry campaigned hard against for a long period of time highlighting the issues it would cause, actually made it this far and had to be challenged in the Federal Court,” he said.
“You would think that government would have done its proper due diligence before implementing such a divisive tax in the first place.”
AUSVEG claims their concerns backpackers would be put off coming had proved correct, making the industry’s labour shortage worse.
The number of backpackers coming to Australia has dropped since 2012–13 when more than 258,000 travellers came Down Under on 417 and 462 visas.
Now that figure is down to just over 209,000.
“The horticulture industry has a significant labour shortage and has been working closely with the government to amend visa rules to increase access to foreign workers,” Mr Whiteside said.
“This shortage has been exacerbated by the confusion surrounding the backpacker tax. Repealing the tax in full might at least go some way in bringing some confidence back to backpackers who wish to travel to Australia and a basic incentive that if they come here they are free to experience what Australia has to offer without the burden of being taxed.”