Members of the Turnbull Government are putting their own political interests ahead of the agriculture sector, the tourism sector, and the regional economies which rely on them.

In the Budget on Tuesday night the Government booked the revenue it will receive from the backpacker’s tax over the next four years.

But Coalition backbenchers including Warren Entsch and Andrew Broad continue to say the issue is not dead.  In an apparent contradiction to the Treasurer, the Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said yesterday on ABC radio:

“Well I know what people want is a discussion on nothing else but the backpackers tax, I can assure you that we are negotiating a solution there, and there is more to be said in the coming period, I’d say in the immediate coming period, but no I am not going to be announcing what that solution is today.”

Twelve months ago the Abbott Government announced a new backpacker tax to commence on 1 July 2016.
Employers in the tourism and agriculture sectors felt the impact immediately, as prospective backpackers turned their interest to other countries.
Late last year ongoing community and industry protest forced Malcolm Turnbull into what appeared to be the beginning of a back-down.

Two reviews and a Budget later, there is no back-down, the revenue has been booked.

The Government can’t have it both ways; it can’t both take the revenue over the Forward Estimates and feign a plan to change the tax post-election.

The damage caused to both the sectors and regional economies by twelve months of dysfunction and political stubbornness has been significant.

It’s past time members of the Turnbull Government focused on the needs of the agriculture and tourism sectors rather than the election outcome.

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