Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee has welcomed the commencement of a review and public consultation on the broad range of issues affecting the supply and remuneration conditions of labour performed by Working Holiday Maker visa holders, also known as the backpacker tax.

Mr Gee said Assistant Minister Luke Hartsuyker, who has responsibility for agricultural workforce matters, will be leading the review.

“Local growers in Calare, especially around Orange, have expressed strong opinions about the supply and taxation of working holiday visa holders or backpackers,” Mr Gee said.
“Our orchardists often struggle to get labour to pick fruit at harvest time, and are reliant on backpackers to carry out this work.

“The backpacker tax is seen as a major disincentive for backpackers to travel to the region to work for orchardists and I’ll be fighting to have the 32.5 per cent tax overturned in accordance with the wishes of our local growers.” The review will address the government’s terms of reference, which are focused around four key themes:

1. Australia’s international competitiveness for backpackers
2. seasonal and temporary jobs and projected growth in agriculture and tourism
3. support for small businesses around engaging seasonal labour, and
4. protections for vulnerable workers.

Mr Gee said public submissions must be made no later than Friday, 2 September 2016. For more information or to make a submission, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/workingholidaymaker. The review’s outcomes will take the form of a government announcement in advance of any changes coming into effect from 1 January 2017.