The Backpacker Tax bill has been passed in the lower house, however it is still subject to a senate review, which will deliver its thoughts on November 7th.
It is hoped that Labour will not delay the introduction of the bill, (which is due to commence on January 1st 2017), as any delay will almost certainly affect toursim numbers and agricultural workers in the regional areas of Australia.
It is now widely accepted by both the agricultural and tourism industries that 19% is a decent tax rate to apply to these individuals, which makes Australia a fraction more competitive than New Zealand and Canada which have slightly higher rates of income tax. However the politicians still cant agree and there is continuing debate and argument.
South Australia MP, Rowan Ramsey says he’s happy with the result and so is business urging that it is time to get it legislated.
Labor’s agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon says the tax is ill-conceived, fearing just as many backpackers will be driven away with the 19 per cent rate. Mr Fitzgibbon warned backpacker numbers started falling away the day the tax was announced and the problem continues. But Mr Fitzgibbon conceded the agriculture and tourism industries are split on the issue.
Coalition senator Barry O’Sullivan has slammed the way his government has handled the reworking of the tax, telling parliament the matter could have been handled better and more promptly.
Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash insisted the government had worked through the issues.“What’s been welcomed is the fact that we have come to a common sense conclusion in relation to the backpacker tax,” she told reporters. She insisted the reworked tax was a great outcome for farmers, businesses and backpackers.
Time to just get it done fellas (and ladies) and move on, both tourism and agricultural industries need some certainty after nearly 18 months of uncertainty and travellers need to know what they will or wont earn.