Give our kids a go

Isis Town and Country - - OPINION -

CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS and best wishes to the young chap chas­ing work, fea­tured in Satur­day’s NM. Hope he can score a job. Un­for­tu­nately he is vic­tim to the short-sighted self­ish­ness of those lo­cal farm­ers who refuse to hire lo­cal kids in favour of over­seas back­pack­ers. To see signs like “pick­ers wanted-Asians only” is quite sick­en­ing but now par for the course in too many Queens­land agri­cul­tural en­ter­prises. In an ironic twist, an­other story in Satur­day’s paper drew at­ten­tion to the now out of con­trol Visa “over­stay” prob­lem. Over 60,000 “back­pack­ers” are sim­ply eco­nomic refugees who come on a trav­el­ling visa and sim­ply dis­ap­pear on ar­rival. This re­pug­nant “Asians only” em­ploy­ment pol­icy from farm­ers aids and abets this process. 10 years ago our daugh­ter, de­spite hor­ti­cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence, was re­fused point blank to be even con­sid­ered for work around Childers be­cause she wasn’t a back­packer. In Wide Bay we suf­fer the high­est youth un­em­ploy­ment in the coun­try and yet we have one of the most labour in­ten­sive in­dus­tries as a main­stay - hor­ti­cul­ture. How about our gov­ern­ments get off their back­sides and leg­is­late to en­sure our youth at least get a shot at lo­cal jobs, in­stead of de­mon­is­ing them and ac­cus­ing them of re­fus­ing to “get off the couch”? JIM NILON North Isis

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