Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association calls for action on "backpacker tax"

ACTION NEEDED: The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has added to the growing body of industry representatives calling for a decision on the backpackers tax.

ACTION NEEDED: The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has added to the growing body of industry representatives calling for a decision on the backpackers tax.

Peak advocacy body Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has renewed calls for the federal government to resolve the issue of the controversial backpackers tax.

TFGA chief executive Peter Skillern said a resolution on the tax was needed as soon as possible, preferably before the start of the peak season for seasonal workers.

“We need to find a level of tax that ensures our competitiveness in the international market and the proposed tax level does not do that,” Mr Skillern said.

The controversial “backpackers tax” is under review by federal Assistant Agriculture Minister Luke Hartsuyker after face-to-face consultations. A consultation was held in Hobart on September 5.

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.

Mr Skillern said the TFGA had been working on the issue “since the beginning” and had been part of the delegation of Tasmanian producers and industry officials from the agricultural and tourism sectors that travelled to Canberra last week to meet with Mr Hartsuyker.

TFGA board member Mike Badcock was part of the delegation that travelled to Canberra last week to meet with Mr Hartsuyker and cross-benchers on the issue.

Mr Skillern said there was concern the issue would not be resolved before peak harvest time that would impact on producers’ ability to get the product out of the ground or off trees.

“We have some concerns given the window is closing rapidly,” he said.

“Inaction doesn’t assist anyone.”

The tax has been backed by all levels of state government, with Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff successfully lobbying the federal government to bring face-to-face consultations to Tasmania.

In addition, Western Tiers MLC Greg Hall successfully moved a motion in the Legislative Council to lobby the state government to lobby the federal government to rescind the tax.

The state’s three new Labor MPs Ross Hart, Brian Mitchell and Justine Keay , who were unable to attend the meeting in Canberra with the Tasmanian delegation. also said they did not support the tax.

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