Labor holds up working holiday maker reforms

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Growers and backpackers in Hinkler could face more uncertainty and confusion after the Australian Labor Party revealed it would refer the Working Holiday Maker Reform Package to the Senate Economics Committee.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said there’s been more than enough industry engagement and review, it was time for action.

“We don’t need a Senate review – we now have a workable outcome and we need to move quickly in finalising the solution through Parliament.

“Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have made it abundantly clear that this reform package must be passed as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Legislation for the Working Holiday Maker Reform Package Bill was introduced into Parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Pitt said the Labor Party had failed to support Australian agricultural and tourism businesses.

“They’ve failed to commit to any options put on the table, they’ve failed to come up with a proposal of their own and they’ve failed to effectively engage with the industries.”

Mr Pitt said many growers are coming into the peak harvest season and labour force demand so they need certainty.

“Concerns around the tax payable by working holiday makers were comprehensively reviewed by the Coalition, with consultation and input from multiple stakeholders in both the tourism and agriculture sectors.

“The Coalition Government listened and acted on the concerns and came up with a workable solution.

“The package reduces the tax payable by working holiday makers from 32.5 percent to 19 percent, with the cost to the budget fully offset,” he said.

Mr Pitt is calling on the Labor Party to support the passage of the entire reform package through the Parliament, providing businesses and workers some certainty right now.

“Labor’s actions could see all of this hard work undone and crops lost, with an unnecessary delay by sending it to a Senate committee for further review.”