The Turnbull Government’s backpacker tax bills have gone missing and yet again the Government has turned to scaremongering rather than admitting they got it wrong.
Declared urgent by the Government two weeks ago, the package had originally been listed for debate in the Senate today. But after Labor announced we will move amendments to lower the tax rate to 10.5 per cent and oppose the ad-hoc increase in the Passenger Movement Charge, these ‘urgent’ bills have been pulled off the agenda.
Instead of getting the bills passed through Parliament, Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce have come out today to play politics with the facts. In claiming that Australian workers will be worse off than holidaymakers, they are either being deliberately dishonest to defend their bad tax, or yet again do not understand fundamental details about their own policy.
Under the Government’s proposal, backpackers will pay a single rate of tax from their first dollar earned up to $37,000. After that threshold, backpackers join Australia’s regular tax scale.
By contrast, Australian workers pay no tax at all up to $18,200 in earnings.
This means that with a 10.5 per cent tax rate, there is no level of income at which Australians will pay more tax than working holidaymakers.
The evidence from the Senate inquiry on the Government’s backpacker tax shambles is clear: Australia needs a lower tax rate to remain internationally competitive and ensure rural and regional businesses can continue to attract the seasonal workers they need.
Labor stands ready to pass the Bill this week if the Government compromises on the 10.5 per cent tax rate that industry, regional communities and even members of the Senate crossbench are calling for.
Barnaby Joyce and Scott Morrison should stop misleading Australians to cover up for their continued failure to get this tax right after almost two years.
Our farmers need a competitive rate and they need certainty.
Labor is ready to back them; the only thing standing in the way now is the Turnbull Government.