News State Victoria News ‘Stop abusing backpackers’

‘Stop abusing backpackers’

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There’s growing calls in the Victoria’s north-west for a crackdown on backpacker operators taking advantage of young travellers.

International backpackers flood into Mildura to pick fruit during the harvest.

Lauren Ridgen, from the United Kingdom, said she paid a harvest contractor to arrange work and accommodation in Mildura.

“When we turned up (in Mildura), this woman was like ‘yeah I haven’t actually got any beds for you, I’ve got no jobs for you’,” she said.

“There were people sitting in the house that hadn’t been working for months and she had promised them work and hadn’t found them anything.”

Other backpackers the ABC has spoken with have endured similar experiences.

In some cases, they’ve paid hundreds of dollars to companies they’ve found online that are offering to find them work and accommodation, both of which fail to eventuate when the worker arrives in the region.

Mildura’s state MP Peter Crisp says its among the most common complaints his office hears.

“As a community, we have got to be good bosses, we’ve got to be reasonable bosses,” he said.

“If things don’t go according to plan everybody understands that.

“(But) it’s how you manage all of that, that’s very important.”

Mr Crisp says he wants to hear from people that have been exploited to weed out unlawful behaviour.