Oct 11, 2016

Labor to examine backpacker tax shambles

After 18 months of uncertainty, the Coalition wants to rush its legislative Backpacker Tax ‘fix’ through the Parliament.

Now the Treasurer and the Government have finally decided how it wants to backflip; it’s expecting the Parliament to pass the legislative package this week.

Labor will give no truck to that approach.

We saw when the Government announced the original Backpacker Tax proposal that it completely botched the details and the consultation.

That cannot be allowed to occur again.

And barely a month ago the Tourism Minister told the Parliament that increases in the passenger movement charge – now part of the Government’s new package – were “choking the golden goose that is Australia’s tourism industry”. [Hansard, House of Representatives, 31 August 2016]

Labor will move that this legislative package be referred to the Senate Economics Legislative Committee for a short inquiry to report back in November.

This genuine and transparent consultation will inform Labor’s final position on the Government’s legislative package.

The Liberal Party is meant to understand business. The National Party is meant to understand regional Australia. This debacle shows neither claim is true.

This debacle has been ongoing since the 2015 Budget.

The Government has limped along for a year and a half creating further uncertainty for key sectors like tourism and agriculture, which has already seen a clear negative economic impact.

Labor will finalise its position once we’ve heard from affected stakeholders and explore how the Government’s proposed new regime compares globally.