Back­pack­ers reap so­cial me­dia’s woes

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

IN RE­SPONSE to Aus­tralian Story and Rosie Ayliffe’s cam­paign to change the way farms em­ploy back­pack­ers and work­ers, as a di­rect em­ployer of up to 44 back­pack­ers for 25 years, I have seen the ways to em­ploy work­ers and back­pack­ers change dra­mat­i­cally.

The sec­ond work­ing hol­i­day visa pro­gram was never de­signed for ev­ery back­packer that came to Aus­tralia to re­ceive. It is a choice whether they do the work or not and there is a per­cent­age of back­pack­ers who won’t be able to do this work as it is re­ally hard yakka.

The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment doesn’t own the farms and nor are for­eign back­pack­ers un­der the con­trol of our Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

Back­pack­ers are in con­trol of their own destiny and want to do what they want and go where they want.

We are a democ­racy. Aus­tralian farms are busi­nesses and em­ploy work­ers in many dif­fer­ent ways.

Some farms di­rect em­ploy, some use labour hire com­pa­nies, some farm­ers use the work­ing hos­tel sys­tem while oth­ers use all three sys­tems and the Sea­sonal Worker Pro­gram. Farms can­not be forced to use a sys­tem that doesn’t suit their busi­ness struc­ture.

Ms Ayliffe says she wants to see a gov­ern­ment cen­tral sys­tem for farms to em­ploy back­pack­ers.

There al­ready are gov­ern­ment agen­cies to list jobs – Job­search and The Harvest Trail.

Un­for­tu­nately, many back­pack­ers don’t know The Harvest Trail or Job­search ex­ists, as they, the back­packer, changed this sys­tem when Gumtree came to Aus­tralia.

Prior to Gumtree, job clubs at­tached to city hos­tels would charge back­pack­ers a mem­ber­ship fee to find a job.

In 2005, Gumtree came to Aus­tralia and by 2007 back­pack­ers were ad­ver­tis­ing them­selves for jobs on Gumtree.

We soon re­alised we had to fol­low them by ad­ver­tis­ing on Gumtree. From there mul­ti­ple web­sites, Face­book pages have all started up charg­ing the back­packer to join to find jobs.

This has ex­panded to many job­board Face­book pages where back­pack­ers fre­quent and di­rect em­ploy­ers now have to post on th­ese pages.

The back­pack­ers them­selves have cre­ated this sys­tem we now have and are ever fur­ther ex­pand­ing into the scams, fake news, fake re­views and for­ever face­less Face­book. GROWER, Bur­dekin.

FREE AGENTS: Back­pack­ers are in con­trol of their own destiny and in re­cent years their work­ing re­la­tion­ship with farms has changed due to so­cial me­dia.

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