Fair Work inspectors to visit North QLD farms

A team of four Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors will visit capsicum, tomato and banana farms around Bowen and Tully next week as part of an ongoing focus on seasonal workers.

The inspectors will make unannounced visits to properties selected at random to speak with growers and labour hire contractors about their obligations under federal workplace laws.

One property has been earmarked for investigation following information suggesting that seasonal workers may be receiving less than their minimum entitlements.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said it is important that employers at Bowen and Tully understand their workplace obligations, and improving awareness is the main focus of the visits.

However, James said any non-compliance issues that come to light will be addressed.

The Fair Work Ombudsman continues to receive underpayment complaints from seasonal harvest workers and many are substantiated.

Last month, Fair Work inspectors wrote to about 60 employers around Bowen and Tully to advise them of this week’s field visits.

Over the next few years the Fair Work Ombudsman will visit dozens of fruit and vegetable farms throughout Australia as part of its focus on the entitlements of seasonal harvest workers.

“We want to ensure employers understand and meet their workplace obligations and we’re also seeking information about industry factors that influence compliance levels,” James said.

“This knowledge will help us to better target our education and campaign activities, particularly in relation to the overseas workers employed in this sector.”


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