OUR SAY: Fruit picker tax will hit hard

THE Federal Government will spend most of the upcoming election campaign attacking Labor over its plans to raise taxes.

The offensive will be so wide ranging that even the ALP's plan to take away some negative gearing tax benefits will be branded a tax increase.

That's politics and especially in the rough and tumble of an election campaign all who participate know the rules.

However, it doesn't lessen the hypocrisy of the government's tax slug on backpackers, who form an important part of the workforce on Australia's farms.

At harvest time backpackers provide valuable, and relatively cheap, labour for farmers. In the local region the berry and vegetable industries rely on the help.

What makes such work attractive to backpackers is that it lasts for relatively short terms, allowing them to fill their wallets so they can continue to enjoy Australia.

And the short periods they are employed are what make it easier to endure the tough, thankless work in often oppressive conditions.

But you won't find many young Europeans wanting to sweat in the summer sun for low wages if they are hit with a 32.5% tax.

More time on Bondi Beach or a plane to a more welcoming country will seem more attractive.

And it will be our farmers and the tourism industry that suffer as a result.



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