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fruit picking-e1418771184838Tonight’s passing of legislation for a backpacker tax of 15% ends weeks of uncertainty for Australian farmers and small businesses, but it should never have got to this.

The Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams said he could not believe that those who depend on backpackers to work for them would be treated as punching bags by the Labor Party, the Greens and some of the crossbenches.

Senator Williams said the Government had done the right thing in offering to reduce the tax rate from 19% to 15% even though it was a $120 million hit on the Budget, and said he and his Coalition colleagues were disappointed to see crossbench members vote it down on


He said the Government was determined to stick with the 15% rate and not play the stupid games of Labor, the Greens and those crossbench members who were holding the Government to ransom.

“Those opposed to the 15% tax read it wrong.

Farming and grower organisations, who thought a deal was done on Wednesday, were outraged that it was thrown out.

I’m glad they went public with their disgust and put pressure on the Greens in particular to show some responsibility.  

Those crossbench Senators who buried their heads in the sand and refused to listen to logic have not covered themselves in glory either.

We finish the sitting year in the knowledge farmers and our regional small businesses now have certainty and can get on with the job they do best.

They will now have a happier Christmas thanks to a Coalition government which refused to blink”, Senator Williams said.


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