Push for local pickers

A PROPOSAL by the Country Party would see Australian fruit pickers and other seasonal workers eligible for a massive $60,000 tax free threshold.

Victorian Farmers Federation Sunraysia branch policy spokesman Bill McClumpha says the fruit industry would benefit more from protecting foreign workers than increasing the tax free threshold for local workers.

Victorian Farmers Federation Sunraysia branch policy spokesman Bill McClumpha says the fruit industry would benefit more from protecting foreign workers than increasing the tax free threshold for local workers.

As part of its platform at next year’s federal election, the minor party is proposing to boost the tax free threshold for permanent residents, currently $18,200, to create an incentive for more local workers to enter and remain in the industry.

Party chairman Robert Danieli said attracting more Australian workers would have important economic impacts for the country by ensuring their wages were spent locally rather than taken overseas by the foreign workers who dominate the industry.

“I do understand there are some problems across other industries as well, trying to get our own people for work,” he said.

“This encourages our own people off the dole and into work.”

Victorian Farmers Federation Sunraysia branch policy spokesman Bill McClumpha said the policy would not have an impact on the number of local workers, and said the industry would benefit more from protecting foreign workers.

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