QUEENSLAND horticulture group Growcom has welcomed the 11th hour agreement between the Australian Greens and the Coalition to support the amended 15 per cent backpacker tax bill.
Growcom chief advocate Rachel Mackenzie said the $100 million for Landcare was an added bonus.
“Growers can breathe a sigh of relief that sanity has finally been restored in the form of a competitive rate of tax agreed to by the industry which is equivalent to that paid by workers under the Seasonal Worker Program,” Ms Mackenzie said.
“A 15pc tax rate will ensure that Australia will continue to be seen overseas as an attractive destination for working holiday makers.
“That we had to go through this disgraceful political circus for the past 18 months to get to this point will not be forgotten by growers in a long, long time.
“However, uncertainty has now been banished and growers currently planning crops next year can have more confidence that workers will return, hopefully at the same levels as have formerly been the case.
“We also hope that those growers harvesting summer crops now or in the next few weeks will not be unduly disadvantaged by this late decision.”
As a result of the agreement, the bill was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate last night.
Under the agreement, the withholding tax rate for 417 and 462 visas will be set at 15pc, consistent with the income tax rate applicable to 416 visa holders under the Seasonal Workers Program.
The agreement included an amendment to the superannuation arrangements for Working Holiday Makers which will be set at 65 per cent for all 417 and 462 Visa holders from July 1.
In addition, the government agreed to provide a one-off additional funding commitment of $100m to be provided to Landcare Australia.