ONE of the largest employers of backpacker labour in Australia has called on the senate to pass the federal government’s 15 per cent backpacker tax bill.
Australian Blueberry Growers Association president Greg McCulloch said the proposed 15pc tax was fair and reasonable.
Mr McCulloch’s call follows obstructionist tactics used in the senate today, which saw Labor and a number of other senators block the proposed 15pc tax by supporting a lower 10.5pc tax rate.
Unless a resolution is reached, backpackers will be subject to a 32.5pc tax from January 1.
Employers say the higher rate of tax would discourage backpackers from wanting to work in Australia’s labour starved rural industry, preventing crops from being harvested.
Australian farmers – through the National Farmers Federation – has endorsed a 15pc backpacker tax.
“We are in the middle of harvest at the moment, particularly on the north coast of NSW, and member of our members have a combination of backpackers and Australian working side-by-side,” Mr McCulloch said.
“I have tried to talk to (Tasmanian) senator Jacqui Lambie, and I am still waiting for a call back after leaving messages.
“We feel likes pawns in a game and no one will win if this goes on. It is now time for the cross benchers to meet halfway at 15pc.”