Backpacker Tax Back Flip – Again

Yet another chapter is to be written in the on-going Backpacker Tax saga as the stress for famers and the hospitality industry is set to continue.

backpacker-1In a Labor led ambush the Senate voted down the Government compromise of a 15% rate for the tax, insisting instead on 10.5%.

Just two days ago, the Government announced it had the numbers for the compromise with Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison announcing the revised tax would be passed into law this week-The final siting of Parliament for the year.

The fear now is that the Tax will revert to 32.5pc on January 1, if the Parliament is unable to resolve the matter this week.

The backflip saw the Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch and WA One Nation Senator Rod Culleton vote for the Labor amendment to revert to the 10.5pc rate along with the Greens and Tasmanian Senator Jackie Lambie, NSW Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm.

National Farmers Federation CEO Tony Mahar says the move today is to be deplored.

“Our members will not be bullied on this issue and today’s antics in the Senate show contempt for farmers and growers in desperate need of a resolution. Enough is enough. We need this issue put to bed, once and for all.”

back-packer-farm-worker2It’s understood the legislation will now return to the Lower House where it will be restored to 15pc and will then need to be returned to the Senate again.

Tasmanian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie says the Australian community and farmers in particular were sick of politicians arguing like ill-behaved children over the backpacker tax.

“No wonder politicians are held in contempt when they are so quick to resort to petulant, self-serving behaviour completely devoid of any respect for the public interest.”

“Yesterday most Senate crossbenchers were ready to support 15oc – but today some have gone and changed their mind, even though farmers desperately need certainty.”

Tourism operators are also anxiously watching the outcome of the political ping pong.

More than 40,000 visa holders work in the agriculture industry each year and bring in around $3.5 billion to the Australian economy.