LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has welcomed news that the introduction of the planned ‘backpacker tax’ will be deferred for six months to allow for a comprehensive review to take place under a re-elected Coalition Government.
“This is a great outcome and one that will be welcomed by tourism and hospitality operators and the agricultural sector in Far North Queensland,” Mr Entsch said today.
“I congratulate our Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer, for her willingness to listen to issues raised by both regional MPs and stakeholders, and for her measured response.”
The Turnbull Government will defer the commencement of the previously announced changes to treat all working holiday makers as non-residents for tax purposes from July 1 for six months, pending the outcome of a review process.
“The review will look at a whole range of issues – from short and long term agricultural and tourism seasonal labour needs to the regulatory imposts on employers, and opportunities to expand the supply of seasonal workers while making sure that Australians continue to have priority for available work,” Mr Entsch said.
The review will also examine Australia’s competitive position in attracting seasonal and temporary labour, including comparative wages and taxation with other countries.
“This tax is something that I, and many of my rural and regional colleagues, spoke very strongly against in Canberra because we knew that rushed policy is not good policy,” Mr Entsch explained.
“By deferring the tax for six months, this gives industry and other stakeholders plenty of time to take part in the review process. They are saying that the tax will have a major impact on Australia’s ability to attract and retain seasonal holiday workers, so now they have an appropriate opportunity to demonstrate this.”
The ‘Review of 417 and 462 Visa Labour’ will report by mid-October, with agreed changes to take effect from 1 January 2017.