News

Changes to the "backpacker economy" would hurt Gympie

Will Taunton - Bernet general manager from Visit Oz. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Will Taunton - Bernet general manager from Visit Oz. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times Renee Albrecht

MANY Gympie region farming and tourism enterprises would suffer under planned taxation changes affecting the backpacker economy, it was claimed yesterday.

Will Taunton-Burnet, of Goomeri's VisitOz backpacker training farm, said backpacker labour kept many small farms afloat, especially orchards and other seasonal operations in the Gympie region.

The Cooloola Coast tourism economy would miss them too, if planned tax changes make them reconsider their visit to Australia.

That was the real risk from Turnbull Government plans to introduce a 32.5% no-threshold tax on working holidaymakers, he said.

At present, many Australian backpackers get full tax refunds because they earn less than the $18,200 a year income tax threshold.

Foreign backpackers pay only 13% tax up to the threshold.

Mr Taunton-Burnet said this meant their tax instalments are often refunded after they return home.

A simple improvement that would make everyone better off, including the government, would be to not tax them in the first place for refundable amounts, allowing them to spend the money while they are still here.

That would benefit tourism businesses and generate extra tax payments on extra income from tourist operators.

"We've got about 2000 farms on our books and we refer backpacker clients to them," Mr Taunton-Burnet said.

"We meet and greet at Brisbane airport, take them to the beach for a few days, then train them in rural employment skills at Goomeri, before helping them find a job," he said.

"They put their effort into the farming economy and then spend their money visiting places like Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island.

"Then they would probably front up for another temporary farm job to finance their next break."

"The main thing is the proposed changes will end up putting less money in the backpacker's pocket," he said.

"The knock-on effect of that is they will not spend it in the local Australian economy."

He called for "some mechanism that would encourage them to spend their money in Australia, doing all the wonderful things that can be done here, rather than taking that money overseas and having it as a sort of post-visit refund.

"The vast majority of backpackers come here for a working holiday.

"They work, learn skills and grow up as well as having a holiday.

"It's important to the economy from two perspectives.

"They provide labour for

the farming sector and customers for tourism.

"It's a double win in that they put their economic effort into rural industries and then spend the proceeds on tourist industries."

Gympie Regional Council tourism councillor Julie Walker said overseas backpackers brought more than mere economic benefits.

"It brings diversity and culture into an area, all those different types of people from different parts of the Earth. It's great to have them here."

Rainbow Beach business operator Ruth Modin has also often praised the contribution of backpackers outside of their economic contribution.

"They keep us young," she said during a recent holiday season.

Cr Walker said many farming operations depended on seasonal workers.

 

Gympie Times

Topics:  economy tourism



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

What follows the big tree at St Patrick's?

HEARTBROKEN: The iconic poinciana outside St Patrick's Church fell victim to last week's storm.

After icon felled in storm, Gympie looks to the future

Give the best gift of all and adopt-a-family this Christmas

GIVING SEASON: Julie Miller and Major Brian Smith from the Gympie Salvation Army are asking the community to help those most in need.

We need your help to make a difference this Christmas

Event promises a very Mary Christmas

FESTIVE SPIRIT: Faye Jefferson, Craig Skennerton, Bev Evans and Karyn Palmer from Red Cross Opp Shop at last year's event.

Mary St gears up for Christmas bonanza

Local Partners

Hacksaw Ridge wins big in first round of AACTA Awards

Luke Bracey and Andrew Garfield in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

THE major awards will be handed out on Wednesday night.

Paris Hilton fumes at clumsy partygoers

A reveller spilt their drink on Paris Hilton's DJ decks

Event promises a very Mary Christmas

FESTIVE SPIRIT: Faye Jefferson, Craig Skennerton, Bev Evans and Karyn Palmer from Red Cross Opp Shop at last year's event.

Mary St gears up for Christmas bonanza

Winnie Harlow isn't a role model

Winnie Harlow insists she isn't a role model.

Felicity Jones proud of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story role

Felicity Jones feels it is "important" for a woman to head Rogue One

Kiwi's plea to Ellen DeGeneres to save bakery after quake

Ellen... we need your magic.

Family had to be helicoptered out after powerful quake

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Prices jump in trio of mining towns

THE boost in coal prices in the past six months has triggered a house price jump in at least three mining towns in Central Queensland.

Boost in coal prices triggers a market turnaround

INSIDE STORY: Disused pipeline stops hundreds from building

TRAIL OF TEARS: Route of the disused Santos oil pipeline which is stopping hundreds of Ipswich residents from building.

Santos responds but Tully says easements issue must be addressed

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!