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Backpacker tax deters working visitors

AAP logoAAP 23/08/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

The tourism industry has seized on new research showing the proposed backpacker tax will deter working holiday makers or force them to spend less if they do come to Australia.

A study by Monash University and YHA found the 32.5 per cent tax - which is being reviewed by the Turnbull government following a backlash - could cut the number of international working holiday makers by 60 per cent.

The survey, which was conducted in north Queensland and Melbourne, also showed 57 per cent of working holiday makers said they would spend less time travelling in Australia and 69 per cent would spend less on tours.

"Working holiday makers have sent a clear message to the government - 'Treat us like a cash cow and we are out of here'," said Margy Osmond, from Tourism and Transport Forum Australia.

She said many rural and regional communities depended on the spending and the tax system needed to recognise the value of the visitors.

Labor tourism spokesman Anthony Albanese, who attended a tourism roundtable in Cairns on Tuesday, said the tax plan had been a disaster since being announced in the May budget.

"Young people have access to online information and they are going right now to Canada and New Zealand - that's dollars leaving Australia that should be being spent here," he said.

Mr Albanese said despite the government's review, the tax still appeared on track to go ahead in January.

"(Agriculture Minister) Barnaby Joyce needs to just say: 'We got it wrong'. Labor will applaud that. We can all move on and operators can work on the basis of having access to that employment."

Submissions to the review close on September 2, with any outcomes to be announced before the tax change is due to start on January 1.

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