OPINION: Just stop with the hatred of backpackers
BACKPACKER bashing is a bit of a sport in Bundaberg, but can it just not be?
I am referring, of course, to the verbal lashings, but sometimes they become physical as well, as we saw earlier this year when a Korean woman was cruelly attacked and accused of carrying Covid-19.
Now that a backpacker has arrived in town with the novel coronavirus we're seeing a new wave of anger directed not at this virus, but at backpackers.
"Get back to your own grubby country," was belted out online within moments.
I mean, if this was an infected person from, say, Gympie, we couldn't really say that, could we? "Get back to Gympie" doesn't quite have the same ring to it now, does it?
Then, even though it has literally nothing to do with Covid-19, we saw comments about how backpackers are taking local jobs.
In my time as a journalist, I've spoken to farmers who have told me locals would always be their first preference, but many just don't come back after a few days of hard slog.
Backpackers provide a readily available workforce that ensures farmers can get their crops away.
I can assure you we'd all be paying an awful lot more for produce if that wasn't the case.
It's also not a job you could easily carry out for years on end. I've spoken to some backpackers who have worked on farms for their entire two years and by the end they're physically exhausted.
It's not the time for burning torches; it's the time for hand washing, sensible social distancing and courtesy.