The proposed 32.5 per cent tax rate that was to apply to working holiday visa holders will be slashed to 19 per cent following strong representations by The Nationals in Government.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said the change recognised the importance of keeping regional economies strong.
“The win on backpacker tax is a win for our farmers who can get their fruit off the tree, off the vine and off to market,” Minister Joyce said.
“The Nationals, including Assistant Minister Luke Hartsuyker and our Senators and Members of Parliament have been fearless champions on behalf of their regions, their agricultural stakeholders and common sense.
“The decision to reduce the proposed tax rate from 32.5 per cent to 19 per cent tax maintains Australia’s status as one of the most competitive destinations for working holiday makers, while ensuring they pay a fair level of tax.
“Australia’s Working Holiday Maker programme provides a vital source of labour, particularly across the agriculture and tourism sectors.
“The peak tourism and harvest season is ahead of us – from mangoes, lychees, bananas and avocadoes in the north, to asparagus, cherries and berries in the south.
“I would also like to thank Assistant Minister Luke Hartsuyker for his hard work on the review.”
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said the government had remained committed to resolving the issue quickly and fairly.
“More than 1700 stakeholders contributed to the review through written submissions and face to face consultations. They made it clear that an early resolution to the tax rate issue was needed.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government listened and is now providing certainty to stakeholders for the upcoming harvest and tourism seasons.
“Today’s outcome has been made with an informed understanding not only of the labour challenges facing our agriculture and tourism sectors, but also the challenges facing the Australian economy in a global labour market.
“The review was about more than the tax rate, and the government will continue to consider a number of issues and suggestions that emerged through the review.”
Information about the changes will be progressively uploaded to ato.gov.au.
Working Holiday Maker visa applications
- The programme has grown significantly since its inception in 1975. There have been over 200,000 working holiday makers coming to Australia each year since 2011.
- There were 214,583 Working Holiday Maker visas granted in 2015-16.
- The reduction will apply to all Working Holiday (417) and Work and Holiday (462) visa holders.
Harvest season – state by state:
- Mangos, lychees, bananas and avocados in the north
- Tomatoes and melons in WA
- Oranges in SA and NSW
- Asparagus in Victoria
- Cherries and berries in Victoria, NSW
- Peaches and strawberries in Queensland