BACKPACKER TAX DECISION COULD DAMAGE BRAND TASMANIA

The Turnbull Government must scrap the backpackers tax because it will not only devastate our agriculture and tourism sectors it will irrevocably damage our Tasmanian brand.

The decision on the backpacker tax is so important to our future productivity. It will determine the future direction of our state based on whether the Government decides to support tourism, our fruit growers, wine makers and other small businesses that drive our agriculture sector.

Fifty thousand backpackers per year visit Tasmania and they do not only spend millions of dollars when they travel around the state for work and travel. There is also a cultural issue at play here. Tasmania has always welcomed back packers from around the world to visit Tasmania to work our land and enjoy travelling around our state. 

If this terrible tax isn’t scrapped backpackers will be forced to pay 32.5 cents in the dollar for every dollar earned, which means it is unlikely they will travel here for work. Backpackers currently pay tax only on money earned above the $18,200 tax-free threshold. 

The fact is, the Tasmania brand as clean, green and welcoming to visitors is key to the appeal for many who visit our wonderful island. If we say to back packers we are going to tax you more it sends a very dangerous message and will most likely damage the Tasmanian brand. It will send a clear message to people that Tasmania is not open to backpackers working in our state. Not only will they not return to Tasmania if they have previously worked here they will most likely tell others not to visit.

The Turnbull Government must recognise that backpackers visiting Tasmania is as much a cultural traditional as it is an economic and brand imperative.  

This issue is about sustaining a proud tradition of welcoming tourists to Tasmania with open arms. If the Government does not support this proud tradition Tasmania will be a worse place for it.