LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has welcomed the compromise on the ‘backpacker tax’ outlined today by Treasurer Scott Morrison MP, saying it is a “brilliant” outcome.
“I’m glad the government has acted promptly on this to reduce uncertainty in the agriculture and hospitality sectors, as well as reassuring young people who want to come here for the working holiday experience that they won’t be disadvantaged,” Mr Entsch said.
“The reduced tax rate of 19c in the dollar rather than 32.5c is a much fairer outcome, given that most backpackers wouldn’t reach the threshold of $37,000 a year.
“I think we’ll see good growth in Working Holiday Makers wanting to come to Australia with the lifting of the age limit from 30 to 35, and the drop in the visa fee by $50.”
Mr Entsch said Australia would be marketed very effectively to the international youth market with the $10m investment in Tourism Australia over the next two years.
“I’m also very pleased to see the establishment of a $10m ‘integrity package’ to make sure that workers coming in from overseas aren’t exploited,” he said.
“Businesses will just have to register one time only with the ATO that they are planning to hire Working Holiday Makers, and confirm that they will abide by regulations and check that people’s visas are current.
“Employers will get immediate authorisation and it’ll give the ATO a better idea about which sectors are using backpacker workers, where and why.
“If employers are doing the wrong thing then they can immediately de-registered, giving us more teeth to deal with problem employers.”
The package, which will cost around $350m, will be offset by increasing the tax that backpackers pay on superannuation earnings they take out of the country, as well as an increase to the Passenger Movement Charge of $5 from the 1st July 2017.
“Superannuation is there to help Australian workers fund their retirement, it’s not for Working Holiday Makers to take overseas with them to their next destination,” Mr Entsch said.
“The Passenger Movement Charge hasn’t increased since 2012 but I think the rise will be offset by the fact that the tourism industry will reap the benefits of a larger and more stable WHM workforce in the Far North.”