National Farmers' Federation

All not lost despite Senate rejection of Government’s Backpacker tax bills

Despite the Senate’s rejection of the Government’s Working Holiday Maker Bills today, the NFF is confident that a deal can be found to end the uncertainty when the Bills return to the Senate next week, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Farmers’ Federation said today.
“The pressure is on Labor and the crossbench to end their Mexican standoff and work constructively with the government to end the uncertainty and frustration for backpackers, farmers and growers,” Mr Mahar said.
“An outcome on a backpacker tax rate has in our view been frustrated by Labor and Senator Lambie coming late to the table with a position.
“We implore them and the One Nation Senators to now look to an outcome that can pass the Parliament next week by working constructively with the government and in the interests of farmers, Australian workers and consumers to get a deal done.
“For the past 18 months the NFF has argued that any rate must be fair and reasonable, encourage overseas backpackers to work in the regions and comparable to that paid to Australian workers.
“We negotiated in good faith with the government for support for a fairer tax rate rather than the original 32.5% proposed.
“At 19%, Australian wages are more than competitive with those on offer in both New Zealand and Canada.
“Parliamentary passage of the bills next week means we can get the message out that Australia is open for business and has its arms wide open to the backpacker community. Farmers and growers desperately need backpackers at what is the busiest time of the year for many. Only the Parliament can provide this certainty.”
Mr Mahar said that the NFF Members’ Council had today passed an urgency motion calling on the Parliament to reach a resolution over the backpacker tax before the Parliament rises next week.

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