News

Flower farm says they treat their foreign workers right

ROBERTSON Flower Farm owner Adam Robertson has hit back at claims Bundaberg farms don't treat their workers right.

The comments follow a piece by ABC Four Corners last week which made allegations of verbal abuse and mistreatment by another Bundaberg farm against two female British backpackers.

Numerous stories of mistreatment followed the piece which left Mr Robertson feeling his Bargara Rd farm had been blanketed as a another bad Bundaberg farm.

"The good farms feel like we are all 'tarred with the same brush'," Mr Robertson said.

"Our farm and all the farms we associate with treat backpackers and locals as well as we possibly can."

Mr Robertson said the backpacker industry was extremely important and should not be scared away.

"We can't farm without it, and we want to promote the positive side as much as possible," he said.

"We also want to see those that abuse the system and cast a bad light on the industry put out of business."

He said Robertson Flower Farm did not use or condone labour hire.

"We have been approached by a few of them, and send them on their way.

"If farmers didn't use them, a lot of the abuse problems and underpaying would vanish."

Mr Robertson said every farm should be paying its workers correctly.

"Even though Australia's pay rates are the highest in the world for agricultural workers, a well run farming business can well afford to pay their workers properly and make a good income," he said.

"We believe if you can't do that, you shouldn't be in farming."

He said his current work team consisted of 20 people who were recruited through various ways.

"We have a lot of inquiries through our website, a lot of direct recruitment," he said.

"Some other people call in directly asking for work and we find they stay longer.

"And we also recruit from the hostels as well, we use Federal Backpackers."

He said his current workers were mixed.

"A few locals, Germans, Estonians and Italians, and they are very happy," he said.

Mr Robertson has been running Robertson Flower Farm for 15 years and said he's found backpackers to be very intelligent hardworking people.

"Who are a delight to work with and many we keep in touch with," he said.

"We have stayed with a Norwegian girl who worked here and her family while on holidays."

Topics:  backpackers editors picks farming foreign workers



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