Backpacker tax delay welcomed but resolution urgently needed

17 May 2016

Tourism Council WA has welcomed today’s announcement that the backpacker tax has been delayed, but warns that a resolution is needed as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tourism sector. The news follows extensive lobbying from Tourism Council WA and the national tourism industry.

The news of the tax has already put backpackers off travelling to Australia to work, impacting regional tourism businesses which rely on the travellers for their workforce, according to Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall.

“We need an end to this tax as soon as possible – while the threat of the tax being introduced from January 1 still remains, we will continue to lose backpackers to other destinations,” Mr Hall said.

“This reprieve has only been granted due to the election campaign. We need a proper review and a true economic assessment of the impact of the tax on regional WA.

“Such an assessment would show that dropping the tax is a no brainer.”

Mr Hall said backpackers were critical to regional tourism destinations as both tourists and workers.

“Many regional resorts and tours couldn’t operate in peak seasons without backpacker staff, and regional agriculture is also heavily dependent on backpackers during harvest periods,” he said.

“The threat of the tax makes Western Australia, and Australia in general, far less competitive as a destination for the backpacker workforce and leaves many businesses without options for their labour force.

“Each year, 38,000 visitors with Working Holiday Maker visas come to Western Australia for a working holiday and stay an average of 121 days and spend an estimated $265 million in the State.”

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