We had an interesting morning last week when ABC Capricornia came out to interview us for a segment to be aired on Landline. The main purpose was to discuss our thoughts on using backpackers to help us and their (voluntary) time being allowed to be put towards their second year visa application. Backpackers visit Australia on a working holiday visa and if they work on a farm for 88 days, they can then apply to stay for a second year in Australia. There were quite a few cases of mistreatment of foreign workers - usually by unscrupulous contractors in the fruit and vegetable picking industry. Because of this, farms like ours would attract people - we wouldn't pay full (or any, in our case) wages, but the backpackers would in most cases have an enjoyable cultural exchange. We made many long lasting friendships - which happens when you live in close proximity for 3 months.
This all came to an abrupt end in 2015. The rules changed and the workers had to show a payslip or group certificate proving that they had been paid a full wage for work preformed. We still get backpacker helpers, but they don't stay as long - two to three weeks is the norm these days.
There's a couple of reasons why we would like to see the volunteer labour still being acceptable to count towards the second year visa. Also I think it can be controlled and workers not getting abused. My thoughts below:
- All volunteers to be registered with Workaway, Helpx or Woof Australia - these are organisations already established to match helpers with hosts. They are monitored to ensure helpers don't get abused.
- It should be treated as a cultural exchange and work should be limited to what the helper is happy to do - e.g. crawling around on hands and knees picking zuchinis all day should not be something a volunteer should be doing day in day out. It's volunteering, so helpers can leave if they are not happy and they have the ability to lodge a complaint with the organisation.
- Helpers should be fed well and have clean and suitable accomodation.
- It's difficult to pay a full wage to a foreign worker that has not had any experience with farm life, or who may not have a good command of english. In fact many of them come to us to learn english so that they can get a job elsewhere.
Anyway..... the filming was an interesting experience and several hours of filming will result in about 10 minutes on TV. I will let everyone know when it's going to be aired, but it will be a few months.
Some photos of the filming below.
Cat (our current backpacker) and Lucy talking about important stuff while being filmed
Lucy and Mick checking over the gilts as they feed
Farmer Mick fixing up the wallow for the sows
Farmer Mick trying to impress Amy from ABC Capricornia
Cat being interviewed whilst trying to keep Ruby the dog under control
Amy trying to take a selfie with Misty the pet lamb
Markets are this coming weekend in Yeppoon on Saturday and Rockhampton on Sunday. If you want me to put anything aside, please email me.