Peak horticulture body, Growcom today, Friday, 25 November, described the lack of progress in resolving the backpacker tax issue as an utter disappointment.

Growcom’s new Chairman Les Williams said that there was now only one parliamentary sitting week remaining this year for a tax rate to be negotiated and agreed on by all parties before the draconian 32.5 per cent tax rate was foisted on backpackers on 1 January.

"It is deeply disappointing that all parties are putting their own political gain before the genuine interests of the agriculture and tourism industries," Mr Williams said.

"Growers don't care who started it, they only care that for the past 18 months no-one has actually managed to get an agreed rate across the line, which reflects badly on the government and badly on the Senate.

“Time is running out. Our utmost desire is for all parties to remember the horticultural industry’s dependence on backpacker labour and to get together to determine a rate that will ensure Australia remains competitive with other overseas nations as a working holiday destination.

“However, on the balance of the evidence of political manoeuvrings we have witnessed in recent days, we now have no confidence the parties will be able to negotiate a competitive rate, leaving the 32.5 per cent tax rate to cross the line on 1 January. 

“This is a disgraceful political shambles of the highest order.”

Formore information: 
Les Williams, Chairman 
Tel: 0407 153 192 

Rachel Mackenzie, Chief Advocate
Tel: 0408 796 199