THE federal government’s proposed “backpacker tax” is already hurting our regional communities reliant on labour from the Working Holiday Maker program.
Queensland agriculture industries such as cotton and horticulture are already feeling the effects of a reduction in international workers with many industries relying upon backpacker labour to satisfy demand during peak harvesting periods.
The federal government decision to scrap the tax-free threshold for backpackers working in Australia will only further undercut local economies.
Although Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) and its members understand the government is trying address Australia’s fiscal difficulties, the damage to communities and industry will far outweigh any budgetary gains the government can expect.
It is with this in mind that we ask the government to reconsider and properly understand the full implications of this change to backpacker taxation.
Queensland agriculture industries such as cotton and horticulture are already feeling the effects of this reduction in international workers.
These industries and communities rely upon backpacker labour to satisfy demand during peak harvesting periods.
Without labour to get the crop in and out of the ground farmers will be under serious threat of losing their businesses.
QFF is currently working with its industry members and other agricultural representative organisations to launch a concerted lobbying campaign to resolve this poorly thought out change to the backpacker tax.
QFF and its industry members will not sit idly while the viability of certain agricultural industries and communities is challenged.
The federal government is showing poor judgement by proposing changes that will undermine the future of cotton, fruit and vegetable industry models.
QFF will be working hard to ensure the government properly understands the impacts and damage to regional communities a change to the backpacker tax will have.
We cannot allow the current lose-lose-lose situation where the backpackers stop coming, the growers and farmers are affected and the local rural economies are put in unnecessary jeopardy.