BACKPACKER TAX: Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd says a strong campaign led by The Nationals resulted in the reduction of the backpacker tax.
BACKPACKER TAX: Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd says a strong campaign led by The Nationals resulted in the reduction of the backpacker tax. The Observer

'Good for Gladstone': Farmers repireve on tourist tax

AFTER having the original backpacker tax "slip" past rural politicians, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd said the reduction in the proposed tax to 19% would be "good for the Gladstone region".

When the decision to tax working holidaymakers at 32.5% first passed parliament under the former Treasurer Joe Hockey, Mr O'Dowd said it was bundled together with other "bits and pieces", which allowed it to fly under the radar.

But he said that once politicians from rural electorates got their act together and approached the Liberal Party with their concerns about what the tax would do to the agriculture and tourism industries, current Treasurer Scott Morrison "did listen to us".

"I've spoken to farmers and they say they can live with (the new lower tax rate)," Mr O'Dowd said.

"From large corporations to individuals people think they should pay tax because they all use our roads and services."

The proposed 32.5% tax rate was slated to apply to working holiday-visa holders from July 1 this year.

But after copping heat from backbenchers like Mr O'Dowd, the government cut the rate to 19%, which is more in line, though still higher, than countries such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Mr O'Dowd said the decision to reduce the proposed tax rate would maintain Australia's status as one of the most competitive destinations for holiday makers.

"Agriculture and local tourism makes a fundamental contribution to the local economy in Flynn," he said.

"It's one more way we are working to ensure central Queensland remains a vibrant hub of industry and employment into the future."



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