Hostel la vista, baby.

The Coalition government has officially put its support behind a proposed 15% tax rate on backpackers, which marks another dramatic ratcheting down from the government’s originally proposed 32.5% tax rate.

Treasurer Scott Morrison today announced the government will be backing that lowered rate in parliament, after the Coalition’s already-amended 19% plan failed in the face of huge pressure from farmers, rural business owners, members of the National Party and the naysaying crossbench.

The 15% rate is effectively a compromise between the 19% rate and the 10.5% rate proposed by Senator Jacquie Lambie and supported by Labor. It’s still an infinite leap from the $0 working holidayers can currently pay under the tax-free threshold, but still.

Proponents of the lower rate reckon having such a high tax would deter backpackers from visiting our fine land and engaging in work in our regional sectors – fruit picking, farm work, that kind of deal.

However, Morrison said Labor can “go and take a flying leap” for sticking behind the 10.5% rate, and said the amended rate would contribute to a $120M hole in the budget should it pass. 

Lambie, on the other hand, said the Coalition’s original rates were “always dumb, uncaring, and bloody-minded.” In any case, support from other senators makes it seem likely the 15% rate will pass.

Go ahead, give the mates you made on exchange a buzz – it might not be as pricey as expected for them to visit ‘Straya in the new year.

Source: ABC / Byron Shire News. 
Photo: Ian Waldie / Getty.