Tax on Backpackers is a real possibility
Barnaby Joyce Agriculture and Water Resources Minister has hinted that soon there could be a new tax on backpackers introduced soon when he was speaking at Narangba in Queensland on day two election campaign.
There was a proposal to soften the rate that would go to 32.5 per cent on the 1st of July, but this was rejected ahead of last week’s budget. Several farming groups have warned that the proposed increase is already impacting the availability of seasonal workers.
Treasurer Scott Morrison stated that "backpackers need to pay tax while visiting Australia because they use public services". At a budget lunch, Mr Morrison said “I don't think we've actually resolved it at a point yet where I think we've got good policy”.
A horticulture spokesperson said if the tax increase was introduced many farmers would not be able to harvest their crops as they would not have enough fruit picking workers.
Senate estimates has revealed that in 2014-15 there were roughly 58,000 backpackers working as fruit pickers and the general trend has been increasing. Anne Ruston Assistant Agriculture and Water Resources Minister said when this was announced in the 2015 budget the Labor Party supported the changes.
If this new tax for backpackers who are fruit picking is to go ahead farmers are scared fruit will not be picked leading to higher prices at the checkout.