Revelations the Turnbull Government is not following through on its commitment to lower the visa application fee for working holiday makers has extended the backpacker tax nightmare.
The news follows the Government’s failure to deliver on its promise that backpackers would not face a 32.5 per cent rate in 2016 and that it would forgo $40 million in revenue by delaying the introduction of the tax by six months.
Barnaby Joyce was front and centre during the election - when the politics of the backpacker tax suited him – stating that, "I'm just very happy that today we have got a further extension so we can continue on attracting season workers to Australia to 1 January to give us enough time to get to a longer term solution.”
Yet now his silence is deafening and the chaos and confusion continues.
The Government’s 2015 decision to increase the backpacker tax from zero to 32.5 per cent has been a nightmare for farmers for the past nineteen months.
Although this was not the rate that many farmers and employers were calling for, at least there was some certainty when it finally landed on 15 per cent.
However, the Government’s decision to reverse a decrease in the visa fee that was passed by Parliament just weeks ago shows that Barnaby Joyce continues to cause chaos with backroom deals rather than providing much needed certainty for the agriculture sector.
Thanks to the Government’s utter mismanagement of the tax, it is likely that backpackers now planning their next working holiday they will be looking at Australia shaking their heads and then choosing New Zealand, Canada or South Africa instead.