National Farmers' Federation

Farmers welcome ‘backpacker tax’ review

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed a review of the ‘backpacker tax’ following extensive lobbying against the proposed measure and widespread concern as to its effect on the agricultural workforce.
Minister for Tourism Richard Colbeck announced in Sydney earlier today, the review would be cross-departmental and seek to provide a more detailed discussion of the tax and its impacts on Australian agriculture.
The review comes following a strong backlash from the agriculture sector, including a petition opposing the tax promoted by the NFF and its member organisations, which has attracted almost 30,000 signatures from across rural and regional Australia.
NFF President, Brent Finlay, said he was heartened by the Government’s acknowledgement of concern surrounding the tax, originally announced in last year’s Federal Budget, and its willingness to examine viable alternatives.
“We welcome this commitment to review the proposed tax which, if left unaddressed, will stifle agricultural productivity at a time when we should be looking to build upon the significant growth potential of our global markets,” Mr Finlay said.
“Since the announcement of this tax we have heard from primary producers from across the country who say this will damage both their businesses and their communities.
“At the core of this issue is the threat the tax poses to the ability of farmers to access a secure and reliable workforce – something which underpins our capacity to produce premium quality food and fibre at increasing volumes as dictated by surging demand for Australian product.
“Today the government has committed to finding an alternative, revenue neutral proposal to the backpacker tax, in consultation with affected stakeholders and the Ministers for Employment, Immigration and Agriculture, and we most certainly welcome this development.
“We now look forward to continuing to play a key role in the review process and finding a workable solution that supports our primary producers in operating productive and profitable businesses that are a driver of the broader economy.”

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