NATIONALS Member for the South West Region, Colin Holt MLC has welcomed the Federal Government’s back down on its proposed ‘Backpacker Tax’.
Mr Holt said while the Federal Government’s decision to change its original proposal to tax working holidaymakers 32.5 per cent from the first dollar earned to 19 per cent was not an ideal solution, it was still a win for businesses and communities across regional WA.
“The number of Working Holiday visas granted has been decline since the Backpacker Tax was proposed and unfortunately a degree of damage has already been done,” Mr Holt said.
Mr Holt called on the Federal Government to undertake a targeted campaign to promote Australia as a great place to travel and work for working holidaymakers.
“Working holidaymakers are a valuable labour source in a range of industries including agriculture, fishing, horticultural, hospitality and tourism industries, all of which are significant contributors to regional economies,” Mr Holt said.
“Unfortunately Working Visa numbers are down even though the tax is yet to be implemented.
“It is therefore incumbent on the Federal Government to repair the damage caused by the tax by promoting Australia as a great destination for backpackers.”
Mr Holt said The Nationals WA had lobbied against the tax from the outset amid concerns from key stakeholders about its negative impact on employers and workers in a number of industries across regional WA including agriculture and tourism.
“We have fought hard against this tax given the number of industries across regional WA that depend on unskilled backpackers to fill casual and seasonal employment vacancies that are often difficult to source locally,” Mr Holt said.
“Stakeholders are concerned that without working holidaymakers, employers would find it difficult to fill positions traditionally occupied by backpackers such as fruit picking, cleaning and hospitality.
“Backpackers also spend as they travel, supporting local businesses and regional communities.”
For media enquiries please contact Office of Colin Holt MLC on (08) 9724 1181