More than 90 Korean backpackers have been underpaid thousands of dollars while working on a farm in south-east Queensland.
The 417 working holiday visaholders were employed by labour contractor Boonah Packing Pty Ltd.
Boonah supplied labour to Scott Moffatt & Co, trading as Moffatt Fresh Produce, to sort and pack carrots on a farm at Tarome.
Moffatt Fresh Produce supplies carrots to markets in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and packages and provides produce to major supermarket chains including Woolworths and Aldi.
An investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman found the price paid by Moffatt to Boonah Packing was sufficient for the labour-hire contractor to meet its obligations to pay minimum wages under the Horticulture Award 2010.
However, following a complaint from one employee that he was underpaid, the Fair Work Ombudsman found Boonah Packing had short-changed almost 100 casual workers more than $16 000 between July last year and January this year.
The original complainant was underpaid $512 and the other 95 a total of $16 198. Ninety-three of the underpaid workers were Korean visa-holders — 92 of them 417 working holiday-makers and one an international student.
The workers were sometimes paid a flat rate of $21.08 and piece rates at other times.