The Turnbull Government’s backflip on its ill-conceived backpacker’s tax has been incremental, slow, and painful to watch.
The new $500 million revenue grab was sprung on the agriculture and tourism sectors on Budget night without any consultation or warning.
Nor was any modelling done on the economic impact.
Barnaby Joyce defended the tax saying that the tax removed a "strategic advantage" in the way working holiday makers were taxed compared to Australian workers.
Then the Government claimed it was having the tax reviewed by its back-bench committee but it’s Chair declared:
“in order to conduct the inquiry, the Tax and Revenue Committee needed to have the inquiry referred to it, which had not yet occurred”.
Now, the Government has announced tourism Minister Senator Richard Colbeck will head a cross-departmental review of the tax to provide a “revenue neutral proposal” to be presented to the Treasurer.
The backpacker tax saga has been a debacle since the Budget night announcement.
The Government needs to ensure that the agriculture sector has the supply of labour it needs and the visa system is not open to exploitation.