Il­le­gal work­ers raid

North Coast Times - - NEWS - Mark Don­ald­son

AUS­TRALIAN Bor­der Force of­fi­cers raided Wan­neroo and Bulls­brook farms last week, de­tain­ing 36 il­le­gal work­ers.

The Septem­ber 12 in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which also in­volved WA Po­lice and Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice, tar­geted visa fraud, il­le­gal work and the ex­ploita­tion of for­eign na­tion­als.

A daily news­pa­per re­ported the Bulls­brook straw­berry farm was op­er­ated by Ti Pro­duce.

The Times con­tacted the busi­ness for com­ment but re­ceived no re­ply.

Of­fi­cers iden­ti­fied 28 work­ers who were in Aus­tralia legally but did not have the ap­pro­pri­ate work­ing visa.

Eight of the work­ers were in the coun­try il­le­gally.

Bor­der Force su­per­in­ten­dent Clin­ton Sims said author­i­ties would “deal firmly with those who de­lib­er­ately choose to do the wrong thing”.

“This op­er­a­tion shows the work the ABF and its part­ner agen­cies are un­der­tak­ing to tar­get il­le­gal labour hire op­er­a­tions and to stamp out il­le­gal work and the ex­ploita­tion of for­eign na­tion­als,” he said.

“Those found to be em­ploy­ing il­le­gal work­ers can face crim­i­nal penal­ties, which carry fines for in­di­vid­u­als up to $25,200 or two years im­pris­on­ment and up to $126,000 for cor­po­ra­tions per il­le­gal worker.”

It is un­der­stood the farms pro­vide pro­duce to Wool­worths.

“Where any al­leged breach of laws by a sup­plier are brought to our at­ten­tion we take those al­le­ga­tions se­ri­ously and are in­ves­ti­gat­ing this is­sue as a mat­ter of ur­gency,” a Wool­worths spokesman said.

“Cus­tomers should be as­sured we place the ut­most im­por­tance on our re­spon­si­bil­ity to source food eth­i­cally.”

Go to www.bor­der. gov.au/re­port.

Photo: Alex As­bury

Raja the ko­modo dragon.

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