AUSVEG: Flawed tax must go

Gatton Star - - INTO RURAL -

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.