RURAL WOMEN: Judy Shepherd (left), with Billie Harris at the Women in horticulture forum, is worried about the proposed tax.
RURAL WOMEN: Judy Shepherd (left), with Billie Harris at the Women in horticulture forum, is worried about the proposed tax. Scottie Simmonds BUN260412WOM9

Tax review up in the air

DEPUTY Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has hit back at claims that the government are 'sitting on their hands' over the backpacker tax review.

The proposed backpacker tax was originally meant to come into effect on July 1 of this year and would have set the tax rate set at 32.5 %, but pressure from industry bodies forced a review and postponement to January 1, 2017.

Mr Joyce said a resolution would be forthcoming in the next four to six weeks.

"We are moving, but we've only just got the report back from Deloitte (Touche Tohmatsu),” Mr Joyce said.

"We are going to be a diligent government and a good government that does the right things with the right information and pays for their decisions."

Judy Shepherd of Shepherd Citrus has just joined the board of Growcom and said industry groups were uniting against the tax.

"We are willing to consider a reasonable proposal and compromise because we agree that nobody shouldn't pay tax, but there are so many other side effects of putting in a very high tax,” Mrs Shepherd said.

Industry groups would be willing to compromise on a tax rate between 15-19 % instead of the proposed 32.5 %.

"We presented the government with that same proposal before the review and they knocked it back immediately,” Mrs Shepherd said.

"It will break the horticulture industry if they being in the 32.5 % tax.”

The State Minister for Tourism Kate Jones accused the Prime Minister of fidgeting over a decision.

"As long as the Turnbull Government continue to dither with this tax, backpackers will choose other destinations like New Zealand and Canada," Ms Jones said.

Mrs Shepherd is hoping common sense will prevail.

"This is a very risky thing they are doing here,” Mrs Shepherd said.

"The backlash against the government from their constituents would be incredible if they don't do anything about the tax. The expectation is that they will completely review it and we do expect some tax, but a compromise.”

Mr Joyce said the government had every intention of a full review.

"That's why we have spent $40 million extending it, we didn't spend that sort of money because we didn't intend to do anything.”