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Foreign ownership of water on agricultural land

 I rise today to speak to the Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Amendment (Water) Bill 2016. The bill before us today would fulfil a longstanding commitment of the Greens to create a register of water holdings by foreign nationals. Indeed, this is the second stage of our foreign agricultural reform package, following last year's passage of legislation to develop a Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land and to lower the Foreign Investment Review Board's threshold of agricultural sales to foreign investors.

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Greens announce end to backpacker tax deadlock and $100mil for Landcare

Senator Di Natale, Australian Greens Leader said today, “This is a victory for farmers who have been watching their fruit wither and die on the vine. Farmers have already lost tens of thousands of dollars waiting for politicians in Canberra to agree on an outcome. With this agreement, they will wait no longer.

“Rural communities have been desperate for someone to clean up this mess with a sensible solution and the Greens have heard them.”

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Greens call on Nats to cross the floor in the House to support the lower backpacker tax

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson welcomes the passage of the amended backpacker tax at a lower tax rate of 10.5% through the Senate today. He calls upon National Party backbenchers to take a stand for their communities and cross the floor next week to support the lower rate.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “It’s a simple test for the Nats next week. Do they want to maintain Australia’s competitive advantage when it comes to agricultural production or not?

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If someone else was Agriculture Minister would the backpacker tax have been fixed by now?

Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens Treasury spokesperson, provides the following comments about the government’s ongoing backpacker tax saga.

“Yesterday Barnaby was talking bulldust on the backpacker tax start date, today he’s playing the xenophobia card about foreign workers undercutting Australian jobs. He’s gone from spreading misinformation to ungrounded fearmongering.

“You have to wonder if government would have done better if anyone other than Barnaby was the agriculture minister. If Richard Colbeck was still around then I am sure this would have been killed two years ago.

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RIP Barnaby's backpacker tax

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, announces the Greens position on the Government’s backpacker tax Bill.

Senator Whish-Wilson said “The Greens want backpackers to be taxed at the same rate as residents. However, we will support the cross-bench amendment to reduce the government’s 19% rate to 10.5%. With the Greens and Labor support of this amendment, the Bill will likely return to the House at a lower rate and the Government has said they will kill it.

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Government’s problems with the backpacker tax are all of its own making

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following response to the government’s increasingly desperate attempts to save itself from self-imposed humiliation on its backpacker tax.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The spree of media releases from the government and agencies yesterday shows that they are making it up as they go along with the backpacker tax; desperately trying to shift the blame to anyone but themselves over the farce that they created.

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