The Federal government has defended its decision to dump a planned 32.5 per cent tax on backpacker workers. But critics say it’s already too late for some farms in Queensland.

Maddison Keenan reports.


The deal means working backpackers will now be taxed at 19 per cent from their first dollar earned.

Overseas travellers visiting Brisbane have applauded the decrease.

Backpacker: “It’s pretty good its gone down now so what we earn, we can keep more of what we’re earning”.

Others still aren’t impressed with the above average tax rate.

Backpacker: “We’re doing a lot of hard work by doing farm work for example you know to be taxed that much its quite, I think its quite high”.

Maddison Keenan: “With backpackers making up 25 per cent of Australia’s farming workforce, the reduced tax has come as a welcome change to¬† Queensland’s agriculture sector”.

Regional Queensland has always been a hot spot for working travellers with farmers reporting up to a 75 per cent reliance on backpacker labour.

Earning an average 22 dollars an hour, the LNP government says our higher wages still make us competitive.

Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister: “The 19 per cent rate, although it might be slightly higher than New Zealand and Canada, when you look at actual take home pay, because we pay them more their net take home amount is more”.

Critics say it’s too late for the current season.

Nick Xenophon, Independent senator: “The damage has already been done because there are literally thousands of backpackers from around the world who won’t be coming to Australia this Summer”.

The decision is expected to attract more travellers to rural areas…but the farming industry still has to deal with this season’s shortfall.

Maddison Keenan, QUT News.