Australia’s cotton growers can now get on with the job of producing a bumper 500,000 hectare cotton crop expected this season, with the compromise 15% Backpacker Tax rate passing both houses of the Australian Parliament
Cotton Australia General Manager Michael Murray says that common-sense has prevailed, ending 18 months of political chaos and uncertainty faced by farmers.
“Finally, the issue of working holiday-maker taxation has been resolved. We welcome the compromise 15% deal reached by those politicians who were willing to negotiate on this issue,” Mr Murray says.
“The political games of the past 18 months do not represent the best of Australian politics and farmers are glad to see the issue of the Backpacker Tax in the rearview mirror.”
“Importantly, certainty has been restored for Australian growers who rely on seasonal labour at critical times of the season and the rural communities that rely on agriculture.”
“The 15% tax rate restores Australia’s competitiveness as a destination for backpackers.”
Mr Murray says the Backpacker Tax resolution comes at a crucial time for Australia’s cotton industry.
“Seasonal workers are absolutely critical to our industry’s productivity, especially over summer when labour requirements peak,” Mr Murray says.
“Cotton Australia has long-opposed the proposed 32.5% tax rate, which would have been disastrous. Over the past 18 months, Cotton Australia has been part of a coordinated campaign with the National Farmers’ Federation, the Queensland Farmers’ Federation and many other allied groups across farming and tourism in prosecuting the case for a sensible rate.”
“Although a resolution has taken far longer than is acceptable, we’ve worked with our allies to ensure this issue remained firmly on the political agenda until the compromise was reached.”
“It’s now time to put aside political differences and for all sides of politics to get on with a whole range of bigger issues for Australian farmers and society as a whole,” Mr Murray says.