Local fed­eral mem­bers voice opin­ions on back­packer tax cut

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

LOCAL Fed­eral mem­bers in the North East and Goul­burn Mur­ray re­gion of Vic­to­ria have voiced their ap­proval of the back­flip on the back­packer tax rate, how­ever not all were happy with the length of time it took to reach a de­ci­sion.

Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) said while she wel­comed the “change of heart” on the back­packer tax the govern­ment should learn to con­duct ex­ten­sive re­search in the fu­ture be­fore mak­ing de­ci­sions that im­pact ru­ral and re­gional Aus­tralia.

“The govern­ment could get its poli­cies right the first time if it con­sulted rel­e­vant in­dus­tries and en­gaged with ru­ral and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties be­fore mak­ing un­in­formed de­ci­sions,” she said.

“This would save con­sid­er­able time and ex­pense for those peo­ple af­fected.”

Ms McGowan said it had taken a 16-month cam­paign from the agri­cul­ture and tourism in­dus­tries to set­tle the back­packer tax is­sue.

“The out­come was good, but ru­ral and re­gional peo­ple should not have been put through the rig­ma­role, ex­pense and stress of hav­ing a tax that was clearly dam­ag­ing, hang­ing over their heads for so long,” Ms McGowan said.

Damian Drum (MHR, Mur­ray) said the tax rate cut is a win for Mur­ray farm­ers who will now be able to get their fruit off the tree and off to mar­ket.

“With the peak tourism and har­vest sea­son ahead of us – es­pe­cially with the har­vest of apri­cots and cher­ries be­gin­ning in late Novem­ber – it was crit­i­cal that the tax rate is­sue was re­solved quickly,” he said.

“This means farm­ers in Mur­ray can con­tinue to rely on strong sea­sonal labour sup­port,” Mr Drum said.

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