The Nationals WA Senate Candidate Kado Muir has condemned the Federal Government’s decision to push ahead with its damaging Backpacker Tax, warning increases to tax rates on working holidaymakers to 32.5 per cent would have disastrous implications for regional WA.
“The Federal Government consulted widely on this proposed legislation and despite overwhelming opposition from the majority of stakeholders it has decided to implement the tax anyway,” Mr Muir said.
To say the response from the Federal Government has been disappointing would be a gross understatement.”
Mr Muir said the tax would hurt both employers and workers and had already lead to uncertainty amongst employers in industries that relied on backpackers to fill their labour requirements such as horticulture and tourism.
“A number of industries across region WA rely on unskilled backpackers to fill casual and seasonal employment vacancies,” Mr Muir said.
“Often these unskilled labour roles are difficult to fill using locally sourced labour.
“In the absence of affordable seasonal labour, employers will find it even more difficult to fill positions traditionally occupied by backpackers such as fruit picking and cleaning.”
Mr Muir said WA had also worked hard to develop its image as a prominent tourism destination and the tax would mean high spending backpackers and temporary working holiday markers would be less likely to visit Australia.
He said the Backpacker Tax was bad policy and would inevitably have significant and broad reaching implications for regional economies.
“This tax is an unacceptable outcome for regional WA and fails to acknowledge the important role of working holiday makers as contributors to regional communities,” Mr Muir said.
“I strongly recommend the Federal Government listen to stakeholders and reconsider its proposal to change rules for working holiday makers.
“Let’s stop this tax before it does any more damage to regional communities.”