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Backpacker tax decision 'imminent': Joyce

AAP logoAAP 19/09/2016 Belinda Merha

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. © AAP Image/Mick Tsikas Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce insists a resolution on the backpacker tax is imminent.

He also says coalition backbencher George Christensen is a very strong player in the National Party, despite telling voters he'd ditch the party if it didn't scrap the proposed tax.

Mr Christensen reportedly told voters in his north Queensland electorate of Dawson he would turn independent if the government didn't back down on its plan to scrap tax-free thresholds for working holidaymakers.

The revelation comes just days after Mr Christensen and other conservatives on the government backbench claimed credit for changes to superannuation policy.

Mr Joyce says the backbencher has explained to him the comments were made during the election to a local paper.

"George is a good bloke," Mr Joyce told ABC radio on Monday.

"I believe that George ultimately is a very strong player within the National Party."

Mr Joyce says a resolution on the tax is imminent, insisting farmers will know what's happening in the next month or so.

The so-called backpacker tax, due to start on January 1, will slug people on working holiday visas with a 32.5 per cent tax rate from the first dollar they earned, unlike other workers who don't start paying tax until their income exceeds $18,200.

The changes would hit the agricultural sector hard, with about one in four workers on working holiday visas.

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