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Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Page: 3118

Mr BRIAN MITCHELL (Lyons) (13:36): It is time to end the backpacker tax farce. Labor is proposing amendments in the other place that will ensure Australian farmers remain internationally competitive, and I call on those opposite who claim to represent regional Australia to get behind us. You lost with the 32.5 per cent tax rate, and your 19 per cent was no good either. It is time for the Deputy Prime Minister and his Nationals to stop their bluster, put politics aside and do what is best for regional communities. In supporting a reduction in the backpacker tax to 10.5 per cent, Labor has shown that we are putting regional communities first. We are supporting farmers and we are supporting regional towns, where backpackers spend their pay.

The backpacker tax debacle will go down in Australian history as a signature failure of this shambolic government and serve as a case study of how not to govern. What is the point of a 32.5 per cent tax or a 19 per cent tax if it drives backpackers away, the workers who are needed to pick the fruit? What is the point of it? Backpackers who do not come here do not pay tax and do not spend money in regional communities.