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NFF reiterates farmers’ rejection of backpacker tax at review

1 September 2016

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) strongly reiterated the agriculture sector’s rejection of the Backpacker Tax at a formal review of the measure earlier today in Canberra.

Speaking at the Backpacker Tax review consultation, on behalf of farmers from across Australia, NFF representatives outlined the severe impact the proposed tax would have on thousands of rural businesses and regional communities.

NFF President, Brent Finlay, said it was time the tax was put to bed once and for all.

“We know that taxing working holiday makers at a rate of 32.5 per cent on every dollar earned will chase them away from Australia in droves and, in doing so, crush agricultural labour supply,” Mr Finlay said.

“Since this measure was first announced in the 2014-2015 Budget we have be adamant a fairer rate of tax is essential if Australian agriculture is to fulfil its potential as one of the true growth leaders within the national economy.

“Farmers are looking to this review to identify a solution that will best address deeply held concerns within the agriculture and tourism sectors surrounding the impact such a high rate of taxation on working holiday makers would have on industry growth and community prosperity.”

Mr Finlay said in the longer term, broader agricultural workforce supply issues also needed to be addressed.

“Labour shortages are nothing new and there are many complex issues involved in designing and delivering a sound agricultural workforce strategy for the future,” he said.

“But this review must stay focused on the backpacker tax issue - it would be selling agriculture short to attempt to address the broader problems within the course of the next few weeks as part of the review process.

“We now look forward to working effectively with government to fix this ill-conceived tax and to establishing a process for the development of a longer-term agricultural workforce strategy.”

• Consultations as part of the review into the backpacker tax, conducted by Deloitte Touche Tomatsu and overseen by Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Luke Hartsuyker, will conclude on Monday 5 September in Hobart, with a solution to be announced before 1 January 2017. See the full NFF submission here.

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