QUEENSLAND’s peak horticulture group Growcom says the lack of progress in resolving the backpacker tax issue is an utter disappointment.
Growcom chairman Les Williams said with parliament set to rise at the end of next week, time was running out for a tax rate to be negotiated before the draconian 32.5 per cent tax rate was foisted on backpackers on January 1.
"It is deeply disappointing that all parties are putting their own political gain before the genuine interests of the agriculture and tourism industries," Mr Williams said.
"Growers don't care who started it, they only care that for the past 18 months no-one has actually managed to get an agreed rate across the line, which reflects badly on the government and badly on the senate.
“Time is running out. Our utmost desire is for all parties to remember the horticultural industry’s dependence on backpacker labour and to get together to determine a rate that will ensure Australia remains competitive with other overseas nations as a working holiday destination.
“However, on the balance of the evidence of political manoeuvrings we have witnessed in recent days, we now have no confidence the parties will be able to negotiate a competitive rate, leaving the 32.5 per cent tax rate to cross the line on January 1.
“This is a disgraceful political shambles of the highest order.”