BACKPACKER TAX: Changes to the system would affect the workforce numbers available at Tinaberries farm in Bundaberg. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail
BACKPACKER TAX: Changes to the system would affect the workforce numbers available at Tinaberries farm in Bundaberg. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail Paul Donaldson BUN050916TAX2

Government not 'dithering' on backpacker tax

BARNABY Joyce has hit back at allegations the Federal Government is 'sitting on their hands' over the backpacker tax.

Mr Joyce addressed the allegations in Rockhampton this morning.

The Acting Prime Minister said there would be a resolution in the next four to six weeks.

But on Monday State Minister for Tourism Kate Jones accused the Prime Minister of fidgeting over a decision.

"As long as the Turnbull Government continue to dither with this tax, backpackers will choose other destinations like New Zealand and Canada," she said.

Mr Joyce hit back at the 'dither' comment, saying he spoke with the Prime Minister about it only last night.

"We are moving... but we've only just got the report back from Deloitte (Touche Tohmatsu) and we are going to be a diligent government and a good government that does the right things with the right information and pays for their decisions," he said.

Mr Joyce said the Federal Government would come to a conclusion on this issue, as it said it would.

The Federal Government delayed the 32.5% tax for six months following outcry from tourism and agricultural industry representatives, and launched a review.

"That's why we have spent $40 million extending it from July 1 to January 1," he said.

"We didn't spend that sort of money because we didn't intend to do anything further. We are."

Ms Jones renewed calls for the Turnbull Government to drop the backpacker tax.

She said the latest international visitor data showed the tax was already turning backpackers away before it is even introduced.

"Since the tax was announced we have seen working visa holiday visitor nights down by close to 9% in Queensland," she said.

Other media outlets have reported the original 32.5% tax rate could be dropped to 18-19%.



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