Northern Tasmania's three Labor MPs Justine Keay, Brian Mitchell and Ross Hart join call to scrap backpacker tax

Northern Tasmania’s three Labor MPs have joined their voices to the growing body of industry stakeholders and politicians calling for the controversial “backpacker tax” to be scrapped.

SCRAP THE TAX: Tasmanian Labor MPs Brian Mitchell (Lyons) and Justine Keay (Braddon).

SCRAP THE TAX: Tasmanian Labor MPs Brian Mitchell (Lyons) and Justine Keay (Braddon).

A group of Tasmanian horticulture representatives met with federal Assistant Minister Luke Hartsuyker on Thursday to speak to him about the damage the proposed tax would have on not only the Tasmanian horticulture industry but nationally.

The tax on working holiday makers was due to increase to 32.5 per cent and the tax free threshold removed on July 1. But a six month deferral was announced during the election campaign after farming and tourism groups raised concerns about negative consequences for seasonal workers.

The review is being conducted by Assistant Minister Hartsuyker and a face-to-face consultation was held in Hobart on September 5.

Braddon MP Justine Keay, Lyons MP Brian Mitchell and Bass MP Ross Hart said they had been working hard with their senate colleagues to raise the many issues the proposed backpacker tax would bring.

Bass Labor MP Ross Hart.

Bass Labor MP Ross Hart.

“We will support any decision to axe the tax. We warned the Turnbull Government that this tax would have a devastating impact on Tasmania’s agricultural and tourism industries but they ignored us,” Mr Mitchell said.

Mr Mitchell was critical of the way the federal government had handled the review, describing it as “a shambles from day one.”

We will support any decision to axe the tax. - Brian Mitchell

“A review on options ordered by the former Minister Senator Colbeck, and due in early April, still has not seen the light of day,” he said.

“The government needs to provide certainty for the agricultural and tourism sectors and act quickly on this matter.”

This week in parliament Labor joined with Senator Jacqui Lambie and others in the senate to carry a resolution expressing grave concern about the impacts of the tax and how it will effect Tasmania’s horticulture industries, profitability and viability. Producers have voiced their concerns this week, with many saying they have experienced a reduction in the number of inquiries from backpackers for this season.

Concerns are that there will not be enough people to fill the demand for labour because there are not enough local people to work.

Primary Employers Tasmania described the proposed tax as an impending crisis and urged the federal government to act swiftly and make a decision on the issue.

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