Budget backpacker tax will hit 38,000 in WA

3 May 2016

The Federal Government has pushed ahead with the “backpacker tax” on 38,000 working holiday makers in WA starting from July 1, with no reprieve in tonight’s budget, according to Tourism Council WA.

The backpacker tax will seriously damage regional WA, which is dependent on backpackers working in tourism and harvest seasons.

Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said currently 38,000 visitors with Working Holiday Maker visas come to Western Australia each year for a working holiday. These visitors stay an average of 121 days and spend an estimated $265 million in the State.

“If backpackers start to stay away from Australia because of the backpacker tax, it will have a devastating impact on regional tourism,” he said.

“Each working holiday maker stays an average of four months travelling and working across Western Australia.”

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.

“Introducing the tax would make Western Australia, and Australia in general, far less competitive as a destination for the backpacker workforce and would leave many businesses without options for their labour force.”

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