PROGRESS: Federal MP Kevin Hogan met with Oz Group chairman Gurmesh Singh and financial controller Eugene Tschaut.
PROGRESS: Federal MP Kevin Hogan met with Oz Group chairman Gurmesh Singh and financial controller Eugene Tschaut. Contributed

Federal MPs to negotiate backpacker tax

BLUEBERRY farmers are ramping up their battle against the Federal Government to scrap plans to heavily tax working backpackers.

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan met with Oz Group Co-op, formerly Oz Berries, chairman Gurmesh Singh this week to discuss the proposal - which intends to remove the $20,000 tax-free threshold for working holidaymakers and tax them at 32.5c for every dollar of income up to $80,000.

Mr Hogan said he would be lobbying in Federal Parliament to reduce the tax rate for holiday workers to 19c to the dollar.

"I think it's too high and I, with a number of regional MPs, are working very hard to reach a compromise," he said.

Mr Singh welcomed the acknowledgement of Mr Hogan and Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker that the tax is a big problem for regional communities.

He hopes negotiations with Treasurer Scott Morrison will favour backpackers working on the Coffs Coast.

"I'm hoping they will reach an agreement with treasury so backpackers will still be able to work in the region," Mr Singh said.



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