29 February 2016
NSW Farmers urges government to rethink backpacker tax NSW Farmers is urging the Australian Government to rethink its ill considered changes to working holiday makers’ taxation arrangements. As part of the 2015 budget announcement, working holiday makers will be taxed as non-residents from 1 July 2016 at 32.5 percent on all income. Currently, when visa holders reside in the one place for more than 6 months they may claim the tax free threshold, allowing them access to a lower tax rate of 19 percent for income above the tax free threshold up to $37,000. NSW Farmers President Derek Schoen said: “While we believe working holiday makers should pay their fair share of tax - 32.5 percent is just too high.” “Talk of this tax measure has already started to affect the sentiment of backpackers towards travelling to Australia which would not only impact the agriculture sector but tourism and rural and regional economies as well. “On average, a backpacker will spend around $15,500 during their stay in Australia. For every 1000 working holiday makers that decide not to come to Australia, the economy will lose more than $15 million. “Agriculture relies on backpackers to fill the jobs that few Australians are prepared to do. “While all Australian farmers would prefer to employ local labour, much of the seasonal work in agriculture is filled by backpackers. Without them important jobs like picking fruit simply would not get done. “It is time the government listened to more than 27,000 people who have signed an online petition to stop the backpacker tax. “We are also concerned about talk that the government may include superannuation in a solution to this issue. This may increase the red tape our members already face with the administration of tax and superannuation,” Mr Schoen said. NSW Farmers is calling on the government to defer the proposed tax changes and refer it to an inquiry. NSW Farmers strongly believes industry’s proposal of a 19 percent tax is more reasonable and will not compromise Australia’s attractiveness as a working holiday destination. “With Australian agricultural products growing in demand across Asia, it would be a missed opportunity if production is impeded by shortages in labour. The industry needs a long term solution to its labour needs,” Mr Schoen concluded. Ends Contact: Veneta Chapple 0429 990 218
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