LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has today confirmed that the Federal Government is reviewing the proposed ‘backpacker tax’ in light of fears about its impact on rural and regional economies.
“I was one of a number of MPs who spoke up at a Party Room meeting three weeks ago and expressed concerns that there could be unintended consequences as a result of introducing this tax,” Mr Entsch said.
“Feedback from our local agriculture and tourism industries especially has been that Working Holiday Makers are vital to these growth sectors.
“I understand that in the tourism industry alone, Australia is facing a shortage of 127,000 workers in the next five years. Most of these will come from Australia, but about 10 per cent will need to come from overseas.
“The horticulture, abattoir and general agriculture sectors also rely heavily on the backpacker workforce.”
Mr Entsch said that at the end of the day, we do not want to make Australia less competitive globally as a backpacker destination.
“The Government has decided that there need to be further discussions about the proposed tax arrangements so that we make sure Australia doesn’t lose market share in backpacker visitation,” he said.
The Tourism Minister will work through a whole of government process in close consultation with the Agriculture, Employment, Immigration, Regional Development, Industry, Treasury and PM&C portfolios to prepare a revenue-neutral proposal.
“The key issue is to make sure we have a balanced and equitable approach to the tax status for workers here on visas,” Mr Entsch said.
The proposal will be presented to the Treasurer for consideration by Cabinet.