Leading horticulture body AUSVEG has welcomed the decision from the Australian government to reduce the tax rate for working holiday makers to a lower rate of 19 per cent, rather than the initial proposed rate of 32.5 per cent.
 
The decision comes following an inter-departmental government review into the ‘backpacker tax’ following widespread concerns that the tax would be a deterrent for holiday makers to work in Australia, and would deprive regional communities of a valuable source of income and labour.
 
“We’re pleased to see that the government has reconsidered the 32.5 per cent tax rate and listened to the significant concerns of Australia’s horticulture industry. This announcement provides an opportunity to reassure backpackers and growers alike,” said AUSVEG CEO Simon Bolles.
 
“The decision to reduce the tax rate from 32.5 per cent is a welcome relief for our industry and we are pleased to see a tax more in line with the rate that backpackers pay in New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.”
 
“It remains to be seen what impact the revised tax rate will have on the number of backpackers coming to Australia, but we are thankful to the government for coming to a compromise position significantly lower than what was initially proposed. We will monitor backpacker numbers under the revised rate to see if backpacker numbers falter and whether further intervention is required.”
 
“Given the problems with how the tax was announced in the 2015 Budget, we would hope that the Australian Government will work closely with industry to educate and alleviate fear within the growing and backpacker community.”
 
“Australian growers need confidence that they will be able to access labour during peak seasonal periods so we look forward to the opportunity for further engagement with the Australian Government on effectively meeting our industry’s workforce needs into the future.”
 
AUSVEG is the national body representing Australia’s vegetable and potato growers and has publicly campaigned against the introduction of the backpacker tax. AUSVEG recently made representations on behalf of the vegetable and potato industries to all sides of politics in Canberra to relay the concerns about the proposed tax.
 
“We’re happy that the government has listened to the overwhelming concerns of Australian industry, and of rural and regional communities all around the country. We look forward to putting this uncertainty behind us to improve Australia’s reputation as a desirable destination for backpackers.”

For more information:
AUSVEG
www.ausveg.com.au