Taskforce receives further support

FEDERAL Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt has received support for a push for a multi-jurisdictional taskforce to address exploitation of foreign workers in the horticulture sector.

At the Nationals 2014 Conference in Canberra Mr Pitt moved that "this federal council recognises the existence of labour hire contractors who are not paying employees correctly, and calls on the government to form a multi-jurisdictional, multi-portfolio task force to advise enforcement agencies".

The motion was seconded by Senator Barry O'Sullivan.

Mr Pitt said the motion was another positive step forward in his efforts to tackle the "seedy underbelly" that exists in farming communities across the country.

"Allegations and complaints made to my office range from the underpayment and exploitation of workers to tax evasion, visa breaches, racial discrimination, intimidation of farmers and overcrowding in private residential dwellings," Mr Pitt said.

"Earlier this year, Senator O'Sullivan and I hosted a stakeholder forum in Brisbane. The very clear message we received from that meeting was that new legislation and further inquiries are not the answer.

"Stakeholders want real action. They say there needs to be greater enforcement of existing laws and greater cooperation between the many relevant agencies, across all three levels of Government.

"I have briefed the relevant ministers on the issue and the outcomes of that forum, and will continue to work with them."



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