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Australian growers suffer from delays to resolution of backpacker tax

Australian vegetable growers are suffering the consequences of the lengthy process of changing the tax status of working holidaymakers, according to lead national vegetable industry body AUSVEG.

Any action on the rate at which backpackers are taxed has now been postponed until the next sitting week begins on Monday 21 November, leaving only two sitting weeks before the end of the year for all parties to come together and conclude the ongoing period of uncertainty over the backpacker tax.

“Every day that the backpacker tax debate goes unresolved is another day of uncertainty over the future of Australia’s working holiday maker program, and another day that ultimately hurts Australian growers,” said AUSVEG CEO Simon Bolles.

“After all the reviews, the inquiries and the reports, it is beyond time for this issue to finally be put to bed so Australian vegetable growers can go into the new year with some confidence about the future of this crucial source of labour,” said Mr Bolles.

“Any drop in backpacker numbers directly results in less money being spent in Australia’s regional economies and less workers on Australian farms. This hurts not only our rural and regional communities, but all Australians who eat our high-quality local produce.”

“Growers are already reporting decreases in the number of backpackers coming to work in their communities. The vegetable industry needs to see a resolution to the ongoing uncertainty about the backpacker tax so that they can start planning for the future.”

“There are thousands of vegetable growers around Australia feeling the real-world impacts of these discussions. The future of their farms is too important to be treated as a political tool.”

“We’re calling on all political parties to come to the table when Parliament resumes next week and agree on a result that keeps Australia competitive with other backpacker destinations so our growers can have confidence in their plans for the new year.”

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