Persuade Australian Government to regulate work visa scheme
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Tom Jackson and my daughter Mia were working under extreme duress in a highly charged and aggressive atmosphere at a hostel in Townsville when their lives were tragically cut short. The conditions which these youngsters are enduring in order to obtain a second year visa to stay in Australia are unacceptable. This seems to be ignored by the Australian authorities, but it is also - to date - largely unpublicised in Britain.
The problem seems to be that the farmwork is largely unregulated in terms of health and safety, and due diligence to workers. My daughter was working in cane fields in Queensland, the notorious domain of a variety of poisonous snakes and spiders, and had no health and safety induction.
The injustices towards these young travellers are many and varied across the industry. For example, in some instances young people are not allowed to drink adequate quantities of water while working, and can therefore end up hospitalised from heat exhaustion and sun stroke. Some pay exorbitant fees for unsanitary hostels, others meet injury and even death through inadequate training in the operation of the machinery they are employed to use. Snakes are an everyday threat in Australia generally: Mia had no induction in how to deal with a snake bite, and farms do not keep anti-venom on the premises. There are even cases of financial and sexual exploitation of young people in exchange for the signing off of visa documents.
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