Letter to the editor on behalf of Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth

I write to draw readers attention to the backpacker tax proposed by the federal government.

For those who aren’t yet aware, the agricultural workforce in Queensland is going to be hit with a unsustainable tax increase of 32.5 per cent on July 1 with no tax-free threshold.

This has the potential to leave farming communities like ours gutted.

Such a massive tax on backpackers who work in the agricultural sector could cause these workers, and the essential services they provide to disappear over night. 

Not only would we see the disappearance of the hands, we will also see the disappearance of the tourism dollars they bring.

In places like Tolga and the Atherton Tablelands we see backpackers at the coffee shops.

 Late in the afternoon we see backpackers supporting the pubs by eating their meals there.

We see the backpackers going out to Malanda and supporting the dairy centres.

 We see the backpackers skiing on Tinaroo Dam.

Yet for short term gain this could all disappear.

The message right across the agriculture and tourism sector is that a tax on back packers will smash our agriculture communities.
Yet the federal government’s only response  to the outcry has been  “wait and see”. 

There is already talk of backpackers turning away from our shores because of this ill thought out policy.

Taxing them at higher rates, on top of the falling Australian dollar, is a huge disincentive.

A drop in workers would make the $500 million the federal government hopes to earn from this tax, wildly unachievable.

Let’s not kid ourselves, no backpackers means no earnings from backpacker tax.