Farmer lobby relief at tax rate backdown

Laura GrubisaGreat Southern Herald

Farm lobby group WAFarmers has come out in support of the Federal Government’s 15 per cent tax rate for working holidaymakers after the Greens threw their support behind the rate on the year’s final sitting day of Parliament last week.

The group said farmers would breathe a sigh of relief after Greens leader Richard Di Natale announced his nine senators would support the rate, cut from a proposed 19 cents in the dollar from the first dollar earned.

WAFarmers chief executive Stephen Brown said the solution would be welcomed by all.

“We’ve finally got certainty after 18 months of deliberation, and growers can now breathe easier knowing that there will continue to be a supply of working holidaymakers ready and willing to pick their produce,” he said.

“It also ensures that Australia remains an attractive competitive nation in which to holiday and work.

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“Australia’s 40,000 backpackers contribute approximately $3.5 billion to the economy and their presence in Australia boosts not only productivity in the agricultural sector, but also communities and businesses which rely on tourism spending, so the decision to back the 15 per cent tax rate really is a no-brainer.”

This means backpackers’ superannuation will be taxed at 65 per cent, and Mr Brown said considering the agricultural, tourism and hospitality sectors had been on tenterhooks, the efforts of industry should be applauded. “Despite some trying times, we have never lost sight of our goal, and we applaud and thank everyone involved for their dedication and ongoing support for the agricultural industry on this issue,” he said.

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