Citrus Australia has called on the Federal Government to repeal the backpacker tax legislation entirely, with CEO Nathan Hancock calling it toxic for agriculture.
Last week the Federal Court ruled the backpacker tax could not be applied to Working Holiday Makers from eight countries who are Australian residents for taxation purposes.
Mr Hancock said the decision creates further confusion for growers and urged the Government to abandon the tax entirely. “This tax was bad policy from the outset and has had a toxic effect on the citrus industry, reducing the size of the workforce at a time when Australian growers are expanding to meet international demand.”
“Since the backpacker tax was implemented in 2016, the number of backpackers entering Australia on the 417 visa has dropped by 19% compared to 2013. If the Federal Government wants to support Australian agriculture as it claims to, then it should abolish this toxic tax entirely.”
At a public hearing held in Mildura for the Australian Parliament Standing Committee on Agricultural and Water Resources’ Inquiry into growing Australian agriculture to $100 billion by 2030, Mr Hancock said the backpacker tax would impede growth.
The recent Federal Court decision applies to Working Holiday Makers from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Finland, Chile, Japan, Norway and Turkey who are Australian residents for taxation purposes.
Citrus Australia recommends that growers should not make any changes to their current situation until the Australian Tax Office confirms the ruling.
The decision does not apply to all backpackers and Citrus Australia urges all workers to review their residency status with their employers and confirm whether this ruling affects them.
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