News

Farms under spotlight in Fair Work blitz

Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors will visit Bundaberg farms to ensure that seasonal workers are being paid their correct wages and entitlements.
Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors will visit Bundaberg farms to ensure that seasonal workers are being paid their correct wages and entitlements.

BUNDABERG farmers and labour-hire contractors will be visited by Fair Work inspectors today, to ensure seasonal workers on local fruit and vegetable farms are being paid their correct wages and entitlements.

Six inspectors from the Fair Work Ombudsman's regional services team will make unannounced site visits to local properties in response to persistent complaints and concerns about non-compliance with federal workplace laws.

Those visited will be asked to open their books, allowing inspectors to view records, with a particular emphasis on minimum pay rates, loadings and penalties.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said it was important employers in Bundaberg understood their workplace obligations.

"We have recently received information that suggests some of these workers may be being underpaid, so we intend to investigate and ensure that employers understand and are complying with their workplace obligations," she said.

Ms James said Bundaberg relied heavily on labour from working holiday makers, many of whom undertook seasonal harvest work to help qualify for a second-year visa.

"The first preference of Fair Work inspectors will be to work co-operatively with employers to assist them to correct any issues by agreement and put processes in place to ensure future compliance," she said.

"The knowledge we gain from these activities will help us to better direct our education and campaign activities, particularly in relation to the overseas workers employed in this sector."

If cases of serious non-compliance are found, Fair Work will consider enforcement measures such as issuing on-the-spot fines of up to $2550.

A decision to monitor workplace compliance in Bundy follows auditing in Caboolture last year, which found more than 150 seasonal workers had been short-changed about $133,000.

Ms James said Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Growcom and Bundaberg and Districts Chamber of Commerce had been enlisted to help Fair Work promote the need for compliance and a "level playing field" for all employers.

Pickers with questions about their pay, conditions or entitlements are encouraged to speak to Fair Work inspectors for free advice.

INFO BOOTH

In addition to field visits, inspectors will run an information booth at the Federal Backpackers Hostel on Bourbong St from 4.30-6pm on Tuesday.

Topics:  bundaberg, fair work ombudsman, farm workers




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'I apologise every day that I am not the person he married'

My battle with postnatal depression...

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Shower filmer escapes further time in jail

CONDITIONS OF USE NOT KNOWN, FEES MAY APPLY ON USE

Man pleads guilty to 19 offences of breaching his suspended sentence

Man hands himself into police after Macca's assault

Bundaberg Police Station Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail

Macca's security guard punched in carpark

Bundy mum turns love of party platters into a business

Leanne Baker with her two sons.

Party and event platters come in three styles

Latest deals and offers

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward