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Backpacker Tax requires swift resolution, not politics: cotton industry

Cotton Australia has joined the throng of agriculture and tourism groups calling on legislators to quickly resolve the drawn-out saga of the Backpacker Tax.

The issue appears to have reached a stalemate, with the Government facing off against the Opposition and independents, all of which are seemingly unable to reach agreement on what taxation rate should be applied to working holiday makers.

"We are disappointed that the issue of the Backpacker Tax has reached the point where it has become a political argument, to the detriment of industries like agriculture and tourism, which rely heavily on seasonal workers,” says Cotton Australia General Manager, Michael Murray.

"This issue has been on the agenda for 18 months, and failure to resolve this quickly will only harm farmers, businesspeople and rural towns. It is time for both sides of politics to work together to resolve this quickly, for the sake of people on the land and the communities they support."

"If our political leaders in Canberra fail to resolve this issue quickly, it will only result in a lack of confidence amongst backpackers considering Australia as a destination, and financial hardship for farmers reliant on seasonal workers."

Mr Murray echoed the sentiment of organisations like the National Farmers’ Federation, urging legislators to use next week’s parliamentary break to fix the Backpacker Tax mess and return confidence to the agriculture and tourism sectors.

“Without a solution, the rate at which backpackers will be taxed will automatically climb to 32.5% next year, which will drive working holiday makers away from Australia and threaten farm businesses across the country,” Mr Murray says.

“We are calling on farmers to get in touch with their local politicians and the cross-bench senators and urge them to seek a speedy solution. If they don’t, backpackers - which make up a quarter of the national workforce - will simply stop coming, and that will be disastrous for farmers.”

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