Backpacker tax will cause FNQ tourism to nosedive, says Katter
KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter launched a vitriolic attack on the Government this week over proposed changes to backpacker tax and backpacker superannuation requirements.
Mr Katter said the only thing going upwards in Parliament was hot air and the only thing going down in North Queensland would be its hot air balloons.
He asked the Treasurer in Parliament yesterday:
Far North Queensland—Paradise—is Australia's No. 2 destination for tourists, a quarter of whom are backpackers.
It is a tourism industry only facilitated by working on bananas, mangoes, avocados - horticulture.
Surely imposing a punitive backpacker tax combined with pointless superannuation pain threatens $1 billion a year in tourism and $1 billion a year in horticulture?
“Skydiving and scuba diving in Mission Beach and Cairns will take a great nose dive if these changes are allowed,” Mr Katter said.
“The number of tourists experiencing Tully’s white water rafting and the Tablelands’ waterfall circuit will greatly diminish.
“The backpackers tax is increasingly making our region unattractive for backpackers.
“Where they could finance part of their visit by providing much needed labour in the chronically labour short horticulture industry, their incentive to work now is very low.
“The pay of backpackers typically stays in our small towns and local communities supporting the tourism industry – this is what the Government is threatening by this tax change.
“On top of that the continued levying of superannuation for backpackers who return overseas is hurting our already reeling farmers.
“If the Government wanted to raise revenue they could have taxed trading in shares, they could have taxed superannuation in overseas companies, they could have taxed people paying themselves $1 million a year salary packages.
“But no, they choose to bash up the tourism industry and the horticulture industry of Far North Queensland.
“Influences upon farmers have been forcing them into employing s457 workers and hurting our local labour force –these are people who are taking our jobs and undermining our pay and conditions.
“But without backpackers, we would not be able to get our fruit off the trees,” Mr Katter said.