ASBFEO – Latest News Update, 27 September 2016:

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell said today’s backpacker tax announcement will help provide certainty for small businesses in the agricultural, horticultural and tourism industries, who rely on working holiday makers to keep their businesses up-and-running.

“Working holiday makers provide small businesses in rural and regional areas with an important temporary workforce; they fill a shortfall that often can’t be filled by the existing labour force,” Ms Carnell said.

“As outlined in the ASBFEO’s submission to the working holiday maker visa review, the confusion surrounding the proposed changes to the backpacker tax created uncertainty for small business and working holiday makers for the coming season.

“There’s no denying the speculation over the tax acted as a disincentive for working holiday makers to come to Australia; I’ve heard from a number of fruit and vegetable growers concerned they would simply not be able to process their produce due to a lack of workers this year.

“Today’s announcement will hopefully settle any lingering questions and allow small businesses and working holiday makers alike, to plan more confidently for the coming summer harvest season.

“The decision to tax backpackers at 19 per cent is a sensible one, and is one that will achieve fairness for the thousands of backpackers that are needed by small businesses in the farming and tourism sectors.

“I will be further analysing the details of today’s announcement and its implications for small businesses – particularly the ATO registration requirement for employers – and will work closely with the government to ensure the changes are not burdensome for business-owners who are already struggling to keep up with onerous compliance measures imposed by all levels of government.”

Kate Carnell, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) 

CONTACT: Kate Carnell: 0415 662 266 or Julie Siegert: 0466 505 354

email: julie.siegert@asbfeo.gov.au