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Tourism body not on backpacker task force

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Tourism Australia has admitted it was not invited onto a task force set up by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to examine the impact of the backpacker tax.

Senior manager with Tourism Australia, Karen Halbert, told a Senate estimates hearing in October her agency was on the task force set up by the minister to develop a response to the working holidaymaker tax proposal.

But she said in a correction to her evidence tabled in parliament the agency was not on the task force.

Rather, it had a role on an inter-departmental committee which provided information to the task force about the agency's responsibilities.

Tourism Australia was also asked to provide information about a possible marketing campaign focused on working holiday makers.

The government originally planned to set the income tax rate at 32.5 per cent but has compromised on a 19 per cent rate.

Labor, the Greens and some cross benchers are arguing for a 10.5 per cent rate, as debate on the bill continues in the Senate on Thursday.

Labor tourism spokesman Anthony Albanese told AAP the government's handling of the backpacker tax had been flawed from day one.

"It has failed to consult industry or to conduct the proper economic modelling and in the process has created debilitating uncertainty for the agricultural and tourism sectors," he said.

"They've been behaving like amateurs."

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