Bringing RMAs articles of interest from news.
Currently, there is no tax payable on the first $18,200 working holiday visa makers earn. But from July 1 2016, such visa holders will have to pay tax on every dollar they earn. Farmers who say up to 50 per cent of their seasonal workforce is made up of such visa holders are planning a major lobby against this planned change.
Queensland's peak horticulture lobby groups. Growcom, the Queensland Farmers Federation and Cotton Australia are planning to launch an ‘intensive lobbying campaign’ to highlight the severe impact of the measures on the agricultural sector, which fears an exodus of seasonal farm labour.
"It's very simple. It will deter backpackers from coming and working on our farms," Growcom chief executive officer Pat Hannan recently told ABC Rural Radio.
"Without labour to get the crop into the ground and particularly to get the crop out of the ground, our farmers, some of them, are under threat of losing their businesses. It's really that serious."
"When you're saying to backpackers, you might have been paid $22.62 an hour before but now we're only going to pay you $14.59 an hour, I've got to say that gets around pretty quickly and the backpacker community is going to be less inclined to come to Australia to enjoy their working holidays," Mr Hannan said.
He said the decision would hurt farmers and rural communities, which relied on backpacker labour.
"There are a lot of rural communities that survive based on the backpackers and labourers that come into those communities during peak planting and harvest times," Mr Hannan said.
"It's very short-sighted not to take the dramatic effect on the economies of those areas into account when you make changes the way the Government has.
"The backpackers are affected, the growers and farmers are affected and the local rural economies are affected."