Dec 2017

Katter welcomes legal proceedings against backpacker tax

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5 December 2017: KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has applauded the move by a foreign accounting firm for commencing legal proceedings in the Queensland Federal Court that claim the imposition of the 15% backpacker tax breaches international treaties and discriminates against foreign workers.

Mr Katter labelled the move as ‘vital’ to the long-term survival of tourism and horticulture in Australia. In the year since the tax passed whereby the Government and the Greens united to impose the tax on working holiday visitors, the tourism and horticulture industries in Queensland have suffered tremendously.

“We voted against the backpacker tax.

“Almost certainly the Government will lose this case in the International Courts. How they could have been so stupid; you’ve always got to acknowledge that Canberra is a very small gene pool.

“The backpacker tax has dealt a deadly blow to the tourism, bananas, mangoes, paw paws, blueberries – the whole horticulture industry. And what for…for a lousy snivelling $50m.”

Mr Katter warned that the current tax arrangements are leaving local tourism industries out of pocket by not just taxing the backpacker, but taxing the tourism operator by extension.

“The tourism industry is built around handsome young people coming from these European countries and the Americas, they are always people with a bit of getup and go, adventure and excitement. They leaven our communities in every way.

“Nearly every cent that a European or American backpacker earns here (by fruit picking) is also spent here.

“Whatever money you take out from taxation, you are depriving the Australian tourism industry of.

“That 15% taken out in tax is taken out of the pockets of every tourism operator in Australia,” Mr Katter said.

But the farming industry in the Far North is also feeling the brunt of the backpacker tax with several farmers weighing up the long-term profitable viability of continuing with the heavy hands-on work load of bananas for the less hands-on sugar and cattle production.

“The backpacker tax is just another headache for our farmers; people say ‘oh bugger it, I’ll just put them on to cattle’ and huge areas have gone out of the banana and paw paw production and gone back to sugar and cattle.

“That means their own locally based workers have lost their jobs as well as the backpackers.

“But there is no doubt that it is chronically hard to get workers to work in these areas and you constantly need the backpackers to pick up the slack.

“No backpackers. You can’t get enough workers. You switch back to sugar cane and take $15k out of the local economy per hectare.

“What these brainless puppets in Canberra forget is that by taxing our backpackers, you are removing an extra job for the struggling tourism operators and the struggling farmers - two of the toughest commercial games that exist.

“The tax has got to go,” Mr Katter said.

Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
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Local Call within the electorate
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Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au