29 August 2016

Have your say on the backpacker tax

Have your say on the backpacker tax


Citrus Australia has made its submission to scrap the proposed ‘backpacker tax’ and asks growers to take the time to register their views.
In its submission, Citrus Australia CEO, Judith Damiani, has reiterated how labour intensive the citrus industry is, how dependent it is on backpackers, and called for certainty and clarity for those within the industry.
“The Australian citrus industry is labour intensive and a large employer of permanent and casual/seasonal Australian and foreign workers,” Judith said.
“Despite the increasing use of the seasonal worker program, working holiday maker visa holders make up the majority of all seasonal workers for citrus picking, packing and pruning.”
Judith said new quantitative research undertaken by Monash University demonstrates that Australia will become a less attractive destination if the proposed backpacker tax goes ahead.
“Research by Monash Unversity’s Dr Jeff Jarvis into the motivations of working holiday makers clearly show that 60% of the sample would not have come to Australia if the tax was 32.5% from the first dollar earned,” Judith said.
“Australia must be seen as an attractive destination for working holiday makers. “Taxation rates must be equitable to those in New Zealand and Canada.”
Judith said the citrus and wider horticulture industry wants the Government to scrap the backpacker tax and engage in industry wide consultation for alternative proposals.
“Citrus employers and employees require certainty and clarity to conduct efficient business, harvest and pack fruit when mature and to market demands,” Judith said.
“The current proposed backpacker tax, its postponement and review has only served to exacerbate the confusion around the proposed tax, its implementation and expected consequences.”
Instead of focusing on this tax, Judith said increased governance and compliance by labour hire companies should be prioritized.
All citrus growers are encouraged to complete their own submission, which is due Friday, September 2, or fill out a short survey here.
The Government is keen to hear from growers so this survey will prove effective.

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