Assistant Agriculture Minister Luke Hartsuyker provides no decision on backpacker tax

REVIEW: Assistant Agriculture Minister Luke Hartsuyker has not confirmed when the outcome of a review on the controversial "backpacker tax" will be announced. Picture: file.

REVIEW: Assistant Agriculture Minister Luke Hartsuyker has not confirmed when the outcome of a review on the controversial "backpacker tax" will be announced. Picture: file.

As peak harvest season approaches there is still no clarity on when a decision will be reached on the controversial “backpackers tax” as part of an ongoing review process.

Despite calls for a decision on the issue from Tasmanian politicians and concern from Tasmanian producers Assistant Agriculture Minister Luke Hartsuyker has not committed to a timeline for the outcome of the review.

Mr Hartsuyker said the government had heard the concerns from the agriculture and tourism industries and was working through the 1700 submissions received as part of the review process.

“In relation to the timing for any announcement, the government is working to resolve this issue quickly to give certainty to stakeholders,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

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.

Assistant Minister Hartsuyker met with a delegation of Tasmanian producers and industry representatives last week, after the group was organised by Primary Employers Tasmania.

“The government understands that working holidaymakers are a vital source of labour, particularly in the agriculture and tourism sectors. Stakeholders have expressed concern about the taxation arrangements for backpackers being a potential disincentive to take on roles that are not being met by Australian workers,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“The government notes that there are a range of factors that influence the availability of seasonal labour, and the review is also considering a broader range of related issues to ensure that policies supporting the seasonal and temporary labour market protect vulnerable workers and keep Australia globally competitive into the future.”

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