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ABC News 24 1pm News -
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by Ericsson Access Services.
100 million viewers watched the political duel, with polls tightening into a virtual dead heat. The stakes are high. A decisive win for either candidate could see them pull out in front. The United States expressed deep concern about the situation in rebel-held parts of Aleppo amid a fresh offensive by Syrian Government forces. An estimated 250 people have been killed in three days in the northern city, which is suffering its most intensive bombardment since the war began. Medical supplies are running dangerously low and so too is any hope of salvaging the fire. A warning - this report contains images some viewers may find distressing. Aleppo has never been more overwhelmed. At the hospital the wounded lie in corridors - there aren't beds. They are fast running out of medical supplies. Four days of relentless Russian and Syrian bombing of civilians has done this. The bombs are bigger and the air raids more intensive. 61 children were admitted to city hospitals overnight. In one, five died at the weekend because there were no ventilators. The BBC's Panorama has been following a rescue worker. The here.
regime dropped two barrel bombs here. More than 15 people died. They had been attending a funeral. For victims of an earlier bombing. Aleppo has had no time to catch its breath and here there is no time to grieve. (SHOUTING) (SIRENS WAIL)I am exhausted at this time. Sometimes I got the feeling that I am living the last days of my life.
Arm getn't -- arm go Don - apocalypse. Strong words are being used. Sometimes it's the quietest moments that reflect Aleppo's despair.
Mohamed calls for his son Hussain.
.Hussain!He is lying inside the body bag.
The family moved here five years ago. They never thought it would end like this. But then who could have predicted Aleppo's horrors. A Queensland conservation group lost an appeal to the state's highest court over Gina Rinehart's plans to build a coalmine in the Galillee Basin. Coast and Country have been fighting against the proposed Alpha Mine since 2012. Today's decision was based on a ruling in the Land Court, so the Queensland Court of Appeal dismissed and appeal by the environmental group Coast And Country that the alpha coalmine proposed in Central Queensland should not go ahead due to the amount of emissions it will eventually be producing, once the coal has been exported. The group argued that under the Environmental Protection Act that some 30 million tonne of greenhouse gas emissions will eventually be produced, would have a damaging effect on the Great Barrier Reef. But the Queensland Court of Appeal said that it's actually not in the Land Court's jurisdiction to rule on matters on activities that would occur beyond what actually occurs within the mining lease. So, obviously extremely disappointed, the Coast and Country group. This is what they had to say outside court a short time ago.The decision from the Court of Appeal today spells trouble for the Great Barrier Reef. And it's a great shame to see this court case dismissed and for Gina Rinehart's GBK Hancock Alpha Coal mine set to proceed.What does this mean for that coalmine?Well, it's not yet a certainty. In terms of the legal hurdles that the company will face now, the coast And Country group haven't ruled out taking the matter to the High Court. Coast and Country says it is considering its legal options, but also in terms of the mine itself, it's been granted an environmental authority, so it hasn't yet been granted a mining lease as such. That has to be approved by the State Government here in Queensland. So, a spokesperson for GBK Hancock was in court today for today's decision. He said that the company will be very much focused on getting that mining lease now. This is what he had to say a short time ago.For us, our focus is now finalising all minor approvals and getting to a point where we can get the mining lease. Once we get that, we will be at a point where we can finalise or financial arrangements, bringing us to a point to put a time line as to when construction will commence.We Leader
will take you now to the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. He is addressing the media in Brisbane. Rolld off the assembly line, there is a jobs crisis in blue collar manufacturing engineering jobs in Australia and Mr Turnbull has done nothing. At the very least, we asked Mr Turnbull to allocate $50 million of scarce taxpayer money, a modest but very significant investment, to secure 7,000 jobs and indeed... We will just leave that address with Bill Shorten to take you to Canberra is
where the Treasurer Scott Morrison is speaking. ... In relation to the measure that was introduced in the 15/16 budget, which treated those working holiday makers as nonresidents for tax purposes, and were taxed at 32.5 cents in the dollar. That was introduced as a result of the change to the tax-free threshold under the previous Government, which meant that those who were here working on those v kas, and -- visas, and only you earning up to the tax free threshold were having not just a working holiday but a tax holiday. It is important that we ensure the integrity of the tax base in relation to what is an important area of growth in the economy, but, also, it is important that this is done in an appropriate way and deals with any issues that may have arisen. Now, we recognise absolutely the important part that backpackers play in the overall tourism industry. It has been an area of strong growth over many years, but regrettably, since about 2012, this isn't a new phenomenon. Since 2012 we have seen the number of backpackers coming to Australia falling. Now, there are many reasons for that. It represents to the state of the economy in their host country, exchange rates, airfares, all of these sort of issues contribute to those movements in backpackers. The backpacker markets tend to come from more established markets, over a long period of time, out of Europe, north America, places like that. We get few backpackers out of China. That is subject to a capped arrangement currently. That is not one of the countries that has been driving the backpacker market. It is an important sector for the tourism industry, also a very important source of labour in the agricultural sector, particularly for seasonal labour. It is frustrating and the Government is frustrated that in many parts of Australia, whether it is in northern Tasmania or northern Queensland, Darwin, southwestern Western Australia, where there are real difficulties in getting Australians, who may be in these places, to actually work in these locations. But those who run the businesses and have to pick the fruit and have to ensure they get their product to market, well, they don't have the luxury of waiting for someone to come and take that job. As a result, those on 417 and 462 visas have been an important supplement to the labour market in those areas. As a result of what has been a consultation process run since the election, which has involved Deloitte doing a formal process of consultation. I received that report over the course of the last week. I have taken a package of measures to Cabinet today, and received their endorsement, and have consulted with the backbench committee on these measures that I'm about to announce today, who have also given their fulsome support. As one said they were a pig in mud when it came to the changes that I'm about to announce now. Those changes are as follows, from January 1 of this year the Government will set the tax rate applying to working holiday makers at 19% on earnings up to $37,000, rather than the 32.5% announced in the '15/16 budget with ordinary marginal tax rates applying beyond that point. The Government will also reduce the visa application charge for working holiday makers by $50 to $390. These changes will lower the cost of coming to Australia for working holiday makers and leave them with more money in their pockets to be able to spend here in Australia in communities right across the country. One of the great variety trues of backpackers, when they come to Australia, is they leave with pair pockets empty -- their pockets emthe because they spend what they earn here. This change will ensure that they will be able to put more in their pocket while they are working here, and be able to spend that while they are working here as well, right around the country. We will also be making some changes to the 417/462 visas to improve the supply of working holiday makers at this current time, and to improve its attractiveness, as a visa, for people to come on holiday to Australia, and this will include two things - the first is to extent the age of eligible from 30 to 35, and to change the same employer test to say that someone can work for the same employer for 12 months, but no more than six months in the one location. So, for example, if you are working for one employer, who has an abattoir in NSW, you can be there, and then you can go and work for the same employer, who may have an abattoir in Western Australia. This is some of the feedback we have had on the working holiday maker program. These reviews give us an opportunity, I think, to look at the over all system and how it's working and how it can be improved. So, they are the changes that we will be making to the visas themselves. In addition, we will be requiring all employers, 417 and 462 visa holders to register with the ATO for that purpose. That will give them the entitlement to withhold at 19 cents rather than 32.5 cents. Now, what this will do will assist with the compliance in relation to working holiday makers in Australia, and we are committing $10 million over the next two years to support the compliance operations of Fair» «Work» Australia and the Australian Taxation Office to ensure that employers are doing the right things by working holiday makers when they are working in Australia. The registration process will assist that. Now, obviously when someone is registered to be able to employ people in this situation, in the event of quite, you know, significant malfee significance and findings of courts and other size, there is the potential for the Government to cancel that registration and remove that entitlement for people to employ workers on 417 and 462 visas. That provides a pretty strong incentive for those employers to continue to do the right thing by those guests to our country who are in their employ. In addition, we will be providing to Tourism Australia effective from now $2.5 million in this being year, $10 million over the next two years, five next fiscal year and then 2.5 the year after, to engage in a backpacker tourism promotion, marketing fund, which would be a cooperative marketing fund, which would have the opportunity for state and territories, tourism administrations as well as industry to partner with Tourism Australia to get the message out and to promote a backpacker holiday experience here in Australia. These measures are combined to ensure that we address the various issues that have been raised with us over the last six months or so, as we have sought to address this issue. All of that combined will cost some $350 million to implement. To pay for that, there are two things we will be doing. The first is to increase the departing Australia superannuation payment, and that rate will go up to 95 cents in the dollar. That superannuation has is paid by backpacker, when they are in Australia, will be returned to the Commonwealth at the rate of it 5% -- 95%. Remember, the superannuation guarantee is there to support Australians' savings in their retirement, not for foreign residents, and it is important that employers can continue to operate on the same basis, whether they are employing residents or nonresidents, and there has to be a parity in the wage arrangements. The award arrangements and so on, that is what sets the wage. Then, of course, there's the SGC commitment on top of that. Now, the SCG will be tacked at 95%. That raises 105 million over the forward estimates. In addition, to that, given that the overwhelming benefit of having more backpacker come to Australia is in the tourism sector, and that ensures that there is more money moving around, within our economy, from tourists moving all around the country. We will be increasing the passenger movement charge from 1 July of next year by $5. So, that will take it to 60. That is the first time the passenger movement charge has been increased since 2012. So, that is quite a period of distance since the last change. I remind everyone that since that period of time - and when it was last put up it was done simply as a revenue measure, and we were critical of it at the time. It was $9 when they put it up last time. I'm advised that they increased the passenger movement charge under Labor by some 45%. Now, this is an increase of less than 10% and in the intervening period this Government invested hundreds of millions of dollars, particularly at our airports, the e-gates, introduced by the Government in the last term, have significantly improved the prorpt of our airports and the passenger experience through our airports. We have established the countercounterterrorism units, which have come at significant cost, but are important parts of the border management responsibility. Now, not once did this Government go to the passenger movement charge to fund those initiatives, they were funded out of the budget. Now, on top of that, you will be aware that the financial systems inquiry recommended the banning of credit and debit card sur charges. Now, we've now taken action on that. And that means if you are a traveller in Australia that you are no longer subject to the excessive surcharging, whether it is by - when flight,
you book into a hotel, book a flight, go to - catch a cab, go to a concert or something like that. So, we have already taken actions as a Government over the last three years to lower the cost for travellers when they are coming. And to improve the visitor experience through the airports. So, on the balance of having actually provided the better service and the better arrangements first, to now see that charge increase by $5 on 1 July of next year, to ensure that we can have these changes to backpacker arrangements, to encourage more backpackers to come to Australia, which will be good for the tourism industry, then that, as a whole, is a balanced pack jia. The measures combine raised 365 million which means, like with super, this package washes its face. Michelle? You have created interest in that phrase. It is important that it do so because we are a Government that is committed to budget repair. Absolutely committed. So when we deal with issues like this, then we make sure that they wash their face from the point of view of the budget, and that's why this package does.On how this makes Australia a destination for backpackers previously, you had 32.5% tax, now it is 19. That's a reduction, but they lose basically all of their super. How much better off are backpacker going to be?That will be commensurate when you take into account how much it costs to live here and move around Australia, they will be on the same wicket in terms of what - money is in their pocket, compared to Canada, compared to New Zealand, and compared to the UK. So, these changes put us on a level footing for what is in their pocket, when they are earning here in Australia. That 19 % was a figure that was also arrived at through the process of the consultation, recognising that that 19% would put us back on an even wicket with our competitors.The 19% was first raised as an option in February this year. We have been hearing the concerns since May of last year. What has taken the...You will be pleased to welcome the announcement today.What has taken you so long to arrive at the announcement?We have been working through tissues. There are wage of proposals that were put up before the budget, which didn't satisfy the test, in my view, that was necessary to ensure you could make the changes and not erode the integrity of the budget. And we have now arrived at a package of measures which does protect the integrity of budget, and does address the concerns of the sector, and does support the tourism industry more broadly in the -- and the labour market issues out there. I would say that when you do the work and you consult properly, and you come to the right outcome, that is something that should be acknowledged.Could the 95% recovery superannuation payments unintentionally drive people towards participating in the cash economy?No. That is why we put $so million into the -- $10 million into the integrity package and the registration package. It would not be a small thing for some un - an employer to be able to lose their registered ability to employ people on 417 and 462 visas. What we are saying is we will be toughening up the cop on the beat when it comes to policing how people are employed under the visas around the country, and so people should not enter lightly into illegal behaviour. They never should. Because the consequences could be significant.A question around your point - is this stamping
actually quite a good mechanism for stamping out the black economy, what has been a problem in some of these sectors in the past?I'd agree going down this new path of the new rate, with the other off sets, means fiscally it is tight but at the same time I think we get ourselves back where some of the incentives to do the sorts of things which James was suggesting would be removed by this package.The registration... It will be given a positive incentive to employers to register...Absolutely. The register will be publically. Backpackers will be able to see - am I working for an employer who is registered. Well, they will know it quick because if they are not they will be taxed at 32.5 cents. It is important that - for those who are guests in our country that we provide them with that surety about the employer that you are employed by, is a registered employer for the purposes of this program, and there will be arrangements that will follow through the Department of Employment, «Fair» «Work and others, who will be able to further outline Treasurer,
how we will ensure the integrity. Treasurer, going on washing of the face, how - the passenger movement charge, how much is actually - backpackers going to pay of that? I think it is 245 mill. How much is the general sfou terrorist population who have nothing to do with working visas going to pay.The backpackers obviously only form a small component of the travelling public. And under what I'm announcing today, they will actually have their visa application charge dropped by $50. The clear intent here is for us to be a lot more aggressive in our marketing and our campaigns and programs to adrink backpackers to come to Australia. The passenger movement charge, I mean, a $5 movement... You would see that variation in a week on - if you go on to What If or Web Jet. I have been around the tourism industry myself. I know the prices can be variable, and I have never seen the evidence which suggests that there is a linkage when they are marginal changes on these types of charges to any change in I have tore behaviour. That said, I understand that the tourism sector would prefer that the passenger movement charge doesn't go up. There are many things I would prefer but when you are in the fiscal setting we're in, then every area has to wash its face.Is sledge # legislation required...I can only listen to one.Will these changes keep George Christian son in the tent.He is always in the tent.Is legislation require Ford the chains? If so, how confident are you that the Labor, Greens and the crossbenchers will support it?It is important. Labor at the last election effectively adopted our policy, which was to see it postponed for six months. They would have been working through a similar exercise. Look, I know Joel Fitzgibbon would be keen to see this issue resolved. He's been also raising issues on this, and I think he's been genuine about that. So, we will work closely with the Opposition. They will get the normal briefings from today. I encourage them to take that up. It is our hope to be able to bring the legislation in when we come back, and should we be able to do that, then I think it will be important to get that legislated so we can have the certainty there both for backpackers and employers. There is also this reason as well - that the AAT has already - has decisions which mean that the tax rate is 32.5 cents. Unless we actually change it by legislation, that is the default position in terms of the administrative law. That is important, that we get that legislation passed.Will labour hire companies have to register? Will they be deregistered if companies they place workers into are ones that exploit...They do have - they will have to be registered to employ 417 and 462 visa holders. They will have to be registered. If they fail in their obligations under those registrations, then they could potentially face that consequence. Going back to the question of registrations, do you have any estimate of - there's been a lot of anecdotal reports over the years about the extent to which there is a black economy going on in the agriculture sector. Do you have any idea of how extensive that is? And, therefore, whether you actually are going to reap rewards in extra revenue from the fact that it might actually pull people into the - out of the cash economy?I think they are all good points. That is why we are going down this path of registration. I think the answers to some of our yeses we will know in time. Having better data on who is employing 417 and 462s and where, and why, I think that will also help us to address what is the other side of the equation and that is why are Australians not taking up jobs in the first place. What are the things that need to be done to ensure that Australians will take up these jobs and where that is an issue that still remains to be addressed... You will be aware that we already have legislation on the four-week waiting period, and I welcome the support of One Nation for that package of measures and frankly many more measures they have indicated support for in our social services package through
which we have been seeking to get through the Parliament. It is important we address why young Australians, in these locations, are not taking up these jobs. But you have got to solve both problems simultaneously - you have the ensure the employer is going to get access to the workers, and you have got the ensure also working on the welfare side of things that you are doing everything you can to get people into these jobs, whether it is this job or somewhere else.The Western Australia is reporting that the Prime Minister has written to all state premiers and territory leaders saying that any floor price under the GST...Before we go there, any other questions on the topic of today? Yes. You have been patient. Does the policy washing its face, does that mean its revenue neutral? Does that mean you have taken a lot of heat on this for a long time for nothing in terms of budget repair? What it means is we have worked a problem and we have solved it and we are moving on.You didn't create the problem in the first place?No. We were seeking to address an issue that was left to us by the previous Government, which by raising the tax-free threshold they were giving backpackers a tax holiday in Australia. They opened up a hole in the revenue. Treasurer Hockey introduced a measure to address that. That wasn't to come into force until now. Until just this year. It was only due to start on July 1 this year. As that measure got closer to implementation, issues were raised, and that's what this Government will do. We will address those issues. We will work through them. We will consult with them. We are not so precious, as a Government, to think we can't improve on things, and that when people give us feedback we can't make them better. Now, that's what we have done on superannuation. That's what we have done on this issue. We're not a Government that seeks to dig itself in on these sorts of things. We are a government that solve practical problems, and gets on with the job. That's what they elect us to do in the 45th Parliament, to work these problems and to get answers and to get on with it and today, on backpackers, we are getting on with it.How do you respond to...Some producers are already struggling to get the right backpackers to come in and we have strawberry growers who in a month's time will be making their crops and they are still struggling to get the labour to pick those crops. What are your words of encouragement to them? On another point you have mentioned twice how frustrating it is in areas where producers are trying to find the seasonal workforce, that local Australians won't do the work. You have talked about you Newstart measures. Are there other incentives the Government is looking at to try to encourage young Australians to take up that work?This Government will never rest on our commitment that the best form of welfare is a job. The best thing we can do to help young Australians - all Australians - the best way to ensure that the social services budget does not swamp the budget is actually to get Australians, wherever we can, whatever ability they have, into work and to be self-supporting. That is our mission as a Government. That is how you actually address the long-term costs in your Social Security system. That's the answer. That's the biggest answer. Yes, it has to be fit for purpose, it has to be well-targeted, it has to have the well timed interventions, like Minister Porter has been talking about. So at every point, whether it's the Path program, at all point Wes are working to ensure we have the right systems in place to get young people, in particular, but Australians more broadly into work. Because that's where they will be able to make their own choices about their own lives about education for their children, and where they live and all the things that an Australian family would want to decide for themselves. If they are in a job them -- job they are more empowered to have the decisions made by themselves. We have time for two more. (ALL SPEAK AT ONCE) On The Western Australia reporting, that the Prime Minister has written to all state leaders saying that he fully expecting any floor price under the GST carve up would never actually kick in, that it would be, if you like, academic or cosmetic, what does that say about the value of a promise that, in fact, would never alter a dollar in terms of the way the GST were carved up?Tim, I looking
think that's... I think you are looking at it the wrong way in the way you have couched it. What the Prime Minister said when he was in Perth is to acknowledge what, I believe, was the unintended consequence of when they first put this formula together, that has seen what has happened in Western Australia happen. I don't think there is anyone who would think that that hasn't been a fairly unforecast - yes, it is budgeted in terms of how the system works. But that's not what the system was designed to deliver, is what - the point the Prime Minister and I have been making. What is best is to look at the matter, once the system has normalised, and to ensure that there won't be a repeat of the type of circumstance we have seen for Western Australia or any other state, for that matter, in the future. I mean, Western Australia was the one that was caught very much by this time. But there... You know, there are possible scenarios that could see Queensland faced by that some time in the future or NSW or Victoria. It's important that in the
the... You know, over the course of the next few years that we do whatever we need to do to make sure the system doesn't repeat what I think - has not been an intended consequence of the system in the first place.Simon Birmingham indicated last night that the Government believes that there some schools that are overfunded. What's the definition of...I will leave the education matters to the Education Minister.Therapist call matters -- they are fiscal matters. He is working with the matters. He is engaged in the consultations. I will leave them to pursue those.The first part of the question - the Government has been criticised by farmers for over a year who have described the process as destructive, shambolic, chaotic. You have said that numbers of backpackers were declining. Why did the Government move through with the process before doing any consultation in the first place? How do you account for that...I have outlined whether I the measure was introduced in the '15/16 budget. I have outlined the measures taken and I am sure that those Australians will be pleased that we have been able to come to a resolution. Farmers who are struggling to find the workforce now...This is why we have made the changes.Do you have a - have you met with people, do you have a meeting coming up soon? Any from the Federal Government for the Victoria Government, with extra money coming out of the asset recycling.The way the asset recycling list closed on 30 June. It isn't running. It was open for two years. Everybody knew that they had two years to go and do that. I haven't finished. We have two years for that program to run. We were aware, going... Coming out of the budget and going into the election that deadline was approaching. We had been consulting with the Victorian Government prior to that. And the way the system works is it isn't 15% on the sale price, it's 15% on the agreed - the agreed - apportionment of funds to projects that come from the asset recycling process. So, it's base on what they propose to spend on infrastructure as a result of those sales, and that those projects were agreed with the Commonwealth. Now we set out, in the process of the - around about budget time, just before the budget, we had come to position based on suggestions they had made there were two prokt -- projects, and they had told us they were planning to spend a certain amount of funds on those, and we applied that ratio to those funds. We offered that deal. Same deal that was offered to NSW, South Australia - sorry, not South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT. They signed up to it. Happy to do it on that basis, given they knew the program was ending. Think it was a commitment to Victoria of 877.4 million for infrastructure. Tim Palace didn't sign the agreement, didn't accept the agreement. We're committed to still follow through, despite the fact that that agreement was not reached as it was with the other states and territories - the other state and territories. I look forward to working through with the Victorian Government on those issues. But I think there has been some misinterpretation and wilful misunderstanding on behalf of the Victorian Government, who always wants more money from the Commonwealth, but from a Victorian Government that spent more than a billion dollars of their own taxpayers' money not building a road, I don't think they argue from a particularly strong position. Thank you. That is the Treasurer Scott Morrison there completing another fiscal face washing exercise. This time on the backpackers, tax she will pull apart and bring you perspectives on that announcement in just a moment. Just to recap - that's a back down on a measure from Scott Morrison's first budget handed down in May. Just like last week's backdown on superannuation taxes, it's happened under pressure from the Coalition's own backbench. So, the idea of raking more tax from working holiday makers, or backpackers, caused great anxiety in regional Australia, where itinerant workers make up a quarter of all hired farm workers, picking typically fruit and other crops. Currently backpackers only pay tax on the money they earn above an $18,000 tax-free threshold. The original budget proposal was to tax them at a rate of 32. 5%. That was deferred for six months, during the election campaign, to allow for a review. Here is how the Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer announced the first phase of that backdown in May. I can announce that the Government will review the working holiday makers' supply and taxation. It is a review that will be conducted by Barnaby Joyce, and it is a review that will be supplemented by the Minister for immigration, the Minister for Employment, the Minister for tourism, and also the Prime Minister's Department and, of course, the Treasury. It is a whole of Government review that is going to be looking at making sure that we are internationally competitive, making sure that we address the issues to do with the taxation and who
supply of working holiday makers, who are coming to this country and making a fantastic contribution. But, also, looking at much broader particularly
issues around labour force, particularly in rural and regional communities, and how it affects our farmers, but, also, our tourism sector as well. A very critical sector to the Australian economy. That was back in May in the midst of an election campaign. The first phrase of the retreat. It's now been completed by Scott Morrison, with a $350 million package of refinement and change being announced today. It is all very real for those who work in the agriculture sector. This deal needed to come and come quickly for the hundreds or thousands of our chard itself wanting to attract pickers for the spring season. Now, one is cherry grower Phil Pyke from fruit Growers Tasmania. He joins us now from Hobart. Your reaction to this modified package. Does it allay all of the concerns that you had heading into this season?Look, we are still working through the text of what's come out. Certainly we welcome the Government's move on this. It's been a long time coming, since May 2015, and while the Treasurer has been keen to say, "Look, we have arrived at this now." It's been a long process, it has been a period of time when it's just sat in the either, nothing -- ether, nothing happened, and the uncertainty of industry has built to this point of us going to Canberra, two weeks ago, and really putting the pressure face-to-face with Government.Just tell us about the situation that you and other members find themselves in at the moment. What is the urgency? What has to happen, very quickly, to get the fruit off the trees and vines?
This program is live captioned by Ericsson Access Services. We continue to support greyhounds raising.(SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY)No, I think it's another way to make sure we get more people into Australia. Remember, a lot of the times the people spend the money in our nation and that is a great outcome as well especially for local towns and regional towns which a lot of these people work in.Are we doing enough to get unemployed Australians to take up the positions?Within this is we show effort to get local people in, but my own experience, my daughters go grape picking and working in egg-packing and a range of other agricultural labor tasks, in any area people are trying to get local labor. It's not that they don't look for it, they do. They will ring across the state to find people to come in. You get to a point where the numbers you need are way beyond the capacity of the local town to provide. I will give you a classic example, Drake, between Tenterfield and Casino, they will need 1,000 people. There is only 200-300 who live in Drake. They live on farm, they want them there while the labor is there. Then they want them gone. The permanent jobs are the locals. The engineers jobs, they are the permanent jobs, the high level jobs stay in the local community.In regards to picking up on the points on the work force at the moment, do you disagree with the contention that the uncertainty of the backpacker hasn't caused a drop-off?I would like to see the figures that sit behind that. Otherwise I would have to say that what we have done is made a promise. The promise was backed by $40 million in the Budget. That was to extend until 1 January 2017. We clearly said in that period of time we would resolve the issue and attract the labor in. We've delivered that and it is being endorsed by the NFF now.With that reference to the National Farmers' Federation by the deputy PM and agricultural minister Barnaby Joyce we'll move to wrap up our conversation on this issue with the NFF's chief executive officer, Tony Meagher. The deputy PM is saying we've done, it's time to move on. But on the question of a traveller tax to pay for a backpacker tax issue, how do you justify, or how might a government justify the need for that cross-subsidy.The passenger movement charge?Yes.I understand it's a shift in $5 which hasn't been shifted for four or so years. That is a reasonably small increase. It will need to go to helping pay for the shortfall of income that was expected. In my mind that is a small tone to allow us the agricultural and farming industry to have certainty for backpackers who will come in and help get crops out of the ground and off the trees. What about the short-term need? Can the obstacles be cleared away soon enough to allow for the season harvest that approaches?I would like to think so. We need to get the message out there. We need workers to know that Australia is open for business. There are great jobs in rural and regional working on farms, great experiences that they can add to their overall experience of travelling to Australia. That's the challenge now, to make sure people know the rate will be 19%.The legislative impediment, or imperative, the need to get this passed quickly, do you think that is likely to happen?Again, I would like to think so. I think most people recognise this was an anomaly and we needed to fix it up and get moving and provide certainty to business. I would like to think the Government, the Parliament, will recognise this is really important for a growth sector that is agriculture.Tony, Meagher, I know you have other commitments. We'll let you go. Thank you. We are close to wrapping up our conversation. We're going to get some final perspectives from our rural reporter who remains with us here in our Parliament House studio. Anna, you've been in touch with varies players on the reliable phone there. What is the feedback that you are hearing from the sector?It's interesting hearing Tony and the NFF talk about how this $5 increase in the passenger movement charge is a small thing, that is not how the tourism sector is seeing it. Already one person who works with backpackers trying to match them with jobs has told me that they see that as mad and possibly a rort and has called politicians crazy for implementing this. Already the tourism and transport forum has said the farm sector might be happy, but we are absolutely not. It would suggest there is anger out there. There are two sides to the backpacker coin - those who head bush to do the farm work and those who head to places like bond eye and