Politicians left it until the final sitting day of the year to pass the amended backpackers’ tax bill, and Mooroopna’s Gary Godwill is not happy.
The Fruit Growers Victoria chairman said the last-minute deal between The Greens and the Coalition might have left it too late for the industry to have a successful season.
And he fears that if the hordes of backpackers do not show up to the farms and orchards across Australia, the dodgy contractors will fill the void.
‘‘The worry that I have is that if there is an industry vacuum, there will be an unscrupulous market,’’ Mr Godwill said.
‘‘Even though our members are doing the right thing, there will be ones flying under the radar that will smear the rest of the industry.’’
Although he was angry it took until December to stitch the deal, Mr Godwill said the 15 per cent rate agreed to by The Greens and the Coalition was a fair, if late, tax rate.
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke spoke to The News from Mildura. He said the town would usually be filled with backpackers at this time of year.
‘‘The numbers of backpackers are nothing compared to previous years,’’ Mr Jochinke said.
‘‘It’s going to take a lot to restore confidence in the system.’’
The deal was stitched Thursday afternoon when Greens leader Richard di Natale announced his team of senators would support the 15 per cent rate.
In exchange for their support, backpackers would keep 65 per cent of their superannuation and $100million would be allocated to Landcare.
‘‘We’ve ensured that backpackers will continue to come to this country and provide the really important workforce that this country needs,’’ Mr di Natale said.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce praised The Greens.
‘‘Thanks to the Greens for doing what Labor should have done,’’ he tweeted.