You have to wonder what goes on in the so-called ‘corridors of power’. The latest newsflash from the marbled echelons of Canberra comes in the form of a new tax. How surprising you might say, considering we’re one of the most overtaxed countries in the world, however this latest slug is set to hit agricultural workers, specifically those globe-trotting youngies, backpackers.

BackpackersBackpackers fill the short-fall in rural workers across agricultural industries. From cropping to livestock, you can find them out in the bush come planting and harvest, working with livestock and keeping the wheels of the horticultural industry alive. They come to the fore where unskilled labour is required and their contribution to rural life doesn’t stop there. Backpackers are keen to earn money to obviously support their travels so they’re prepared to try their hand at anything.

The impact these seasonal workers have on rural industries is vital to say the very least. It’s been quoted in the media that backpackers contribute more than $3.5 billion to the economy each year so why on earth would the government want to tax them, quite literally, out of the country to the detriment of our industries?

Because that is what’s going to happen.

There’s a new tax proposal on the table and while the government has suggested it might delay its instigation for a few months to allow greater discussion and input by relevant groups, things aren’t looking too positive.

The proposal is to slug backpackers with a flat 32.5% tax rate from day one of working in Australia. Which will surely mean that our young international travellers will head elsewhere. There are other places in the world to visit after all, when it comes to working holidays and places like New Zealand and Canada have far lower tax rates.

If the tax goes ahead and the backpacker numbers arriving into Australia decline, which is bound to happen – these kids aren’t dumb after all, then who is going to fill their positions? And what will happen to those businesses reliant on their input.

Come on Canberra, engage brain.