TAX REVIEW: Tourism operator Bruce Rhoades thinks backpacker tax review has come too late.
TAX REVIEW: Tourism operator Bruce Rhoades thinks backpacker tax review has come too late. Declan Cooley

Backpacker tax under review

THE unpopular "backpacker tax" is now under review by the federal government but 1770 Castaway tourism operator Bruce Rhoades thinks the damage has already been done.

The backpacker tax was slated to come into effect this year, which would have slugged overseas workers 32.5 cents on the dollar and stopped them from claiming the tax free threshold set at $18,200.

Mr Rhoades, who runs an adventure tourism business at 1770, has welcomed the review but questioned why it had taken so long to review a tax that he believes would cripple his business.

"It's a bit late," he said.

"The fear is already out there and plenty of backpackers would have made their plans.

"It's caused a lot of damage because if backpackers came out or were thinking about going on a 12 month program --- they'll think bugger that I'll go to New Zealand or Asia," he said.

Today Mr Rhoades was taking six tourists out for a getaway which was about nine less than he usually would have and at $250 a pop, that adds up.    

Federal member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said he was pleased with the decision to review the backpacker tax.

"Backpackers have a huge flow-on effect in our rural communities. The key issue is to ensure we have a balanced and equitable approach to the tax status for workers here on visas," Mr O'Dowd said.

"We have citrus, blueberries, cotton, grape, and dairy farmers who all rely on the holiday-makers as available labour. While on the flip side we have hotels, motels, cafes, laundries, service stations and so-on who rely on their trade to bolster their businesses."

But for Mr Rhoades it may be a case of too little too late.  



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