The Federal Government must immediately scrap its plans to introduce the 32.5 per cent backpacker tax on working holiday makers and work with industry to repair the damage to Australia’s international reputation following the release of new figures that reveal a massive drop in the number of working holiday visas granted said the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF).
According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s latest Working Holiday Maker Visa Programme Report the number of granted visas has dropped by 5.4 per cent in the 12 months to 30 June 2016. That is 12,229 less visas granted to working holiday makers over the period.
Since 2012-13 the number of working holiday makers has dropped 17 per cent from 258,248 to 214, 583 in 2015-16 – a loss of 43, 665 working holiday makers as the cost of visas has been hiked to $440 and the introduction of the backpacker tax has spooked working holiday makers.
“These figures confirms what the tourism and agricultural industries have been telling the Federal Government for months – the working holiday maker exodus has already begun because of the ill-considered backpacker tax,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“The Federal Government needs to stop this exodus of working holiday makers in its tracks now by immediately announcing that the backpacker tax will be scrapped.
“The message has gone out across the world over social media from backpackers already in Australia – “Do not come to Australia because you are about to be slapped with a massive new tax on your working holiday”.
“The Government received over 1,700 submission to its Working Holiday Maker Visa Review and 99.9 per cent of these have slammed the backpacker tax as bad policy that will smash farmers and tourism operators who depend on working holiday makers to keep their businesses open.
“The message from the entire industry is very simple – scrap the backpacker tax.”