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Published on : Friday, December 2, 2016
The backpacker tax debate has been a damaging and unsavoury political distraction which has taken the focus away from the positive contribution our export tourism industry has made to the Australian economy.
“Rather than focus on how they can support the tourism industry to continue its fantastic growth trajectory, parliamentarians of all persuasions have played political football with Australia’s tourism image,” ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said.
“The entire process has been highly damaging for Australian tourism exports and we are deeply disappointed at how it has progressed.
“While most of the focus has been on the needs and labour concerns of the farming sector, the tourism industry has been tossed aside, and is now left to rebuild the backpacker visitor market.
“It has been an 18 month spat over detail that should have been worked out long ago. It was clear from the outset that a 32% tax was unworkable and, since then, there has only been arguments over the detail.
“At the end of the day, backpackers are here for one reason, and one reason only, and that is to see Australia – they are tourists – and this has been forgotten in this absurd debate.
“ATEC members, and all tourism businesses, will be happy to have this issue out of the way.
“Here’s hoping for a more constructive approach to policy making by our political leaders in 2017. ”