Despite the Turnbull Government’s strident calls to fast-track the much maligned Backpacker Tax through Parliament, it failed to list the tax for debate today.
The Government has attempted to deflect criticism of its sixteen-month-old Backpacker Tax fiasco by wrongly suggesting Labor is holding up the Bill. Labor has made it clear it will support the Bill through the House to save time, but where is it?
For all the huffing and puffing from Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, it is in fact the government which has not only orchestrated this damaging tax, but is playing political games at the expense of our farmers.
The Bill contains three substantial tax changes – the Backpackers Tax, superannuation and a substantial increase in the Passenger Movement Charge. It is normal for a Bill of this nature and controversy to go to a Senate Committee.
The National Farmers’ Federation acknowledges the Government has unnecessarily made the issue more problematic by including all three new taxes in one Bill.
By the Government’s own admission, the Backpacker Tax at 19 per cent will not arrest the steady decline in working holiday makers coming to Australia.
Farmers and tourism operators alike have grave concerns about the new taxes and Labor remains steadfastly committed to genuine consultation with them to give them a voice.