FARM WORK: Backpackers work on a farm on the Mt Perry Gin Gin Road near Bundaberg. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
FARM WORK: Backpackers work on a farm on the Mt Perry Gin Gin Road near Bundaberg. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet BUNRUR

Fair price could reduce illegal worker ranks

A BACKBENCH Nationals MP has backed more action on the growing problem of undocumented workers on farms across the country.

But Hinkler MP Keith Pitt, who has been pushing for action, said making new laws was not the answer.

Mr Pitt said better enforcement of the existing laws would help address the problem.

It was last estimated there were up to 100,000 illegal workers in Australia.

"I think if they are over-staying their visa, or breaking the law by working outside those conditions, there needs to be consequences," Mr Pitt said.

Mr Pitt said farmers had employed illegal workers, often through "shonky labour hire firms", to cut costs.

"I think the (supermarket) duopoly needs to take responsibility," he said.

"If they gave farmers a fair price, they wouldn't have to resort to hiring (undocumented) workers."


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