NSW Farmers: unanimous opposition to backpacker tax

NSW Farmers delegateshave votedunanimously to oppose the Federal Government’s 32.5 per cent backpacker tax hike and seek a new solution.
Nanjing Night Net

A lively policy debate played outat the Association’s annual conference in Sydney this afternoon, with delegates’frustrations ringing clear overthe government’s stance.

Producers reeled whengovernment announcedin its 2015/16 budgetthat it would abolish the $18,200tax-free threshold on backpackers and set a flat tax rate of 32.5 per cent.

Farmers fearimpacts to seasonallabour supply and wastage ofunpicked fruit and vegetables, which the conference heard would “create a crisis” in the industry.

Today’sconference motion, put forward by the Association’s Bathurst branch and supported unanimously, called for renewed efforts to seek a“reasonable, measured”solution.

“I don’ think we can afford to lose this valuable workforce,” said Bathurst delegate David McKay

“I can tell you we will lose people to NZ – where they have a 10 per centtax rate.”

Delegates rejected anamendmentfora flat rate tax of 15 per cent with notax-free threshold – which isthe practice in the shearing industry.

An amendmentfor zero tax was also rejected.

Under current 417 working holiday visa conditions, backpackers are eligible for a tax-free threshold of $18,200 then pay a rate of 19pc up to $37,000 and 32.5pc up to $80,000.

In Maygovernment said it woulddefer the tax for six months until January 1 2017.

It’s estimated the average working holiday maker earns about $15,000 while in Australia.

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