NEWS

Fiji Police And Australian Counterparts Probe Claims Of Alleged Labour Exploitation

A local Victorian Member of Parliament told ABC that the alleged case would not be surprising because worker exploitation was an issue in the Sunraysia region.
17 Nov 2019 12:48
Fiji Police And Australian Counterparts Probe Claims Of Alleged Labour Exploitation
Seasonal workers harvesting vegetables

The Fiji Police Force is working with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) on an investigation of alleged labour exploitation involving Fijians.

Fiji Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro was only able to confirm that they were assisting their Australian counterparts.

She did not elaborate further.

A report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)  said Australian authorities were investigating whether dozens of workers from small, remote

Fijian villages may be victims of labour exploitation after allegedly being deceptively recruited to work on farms in north-west Victoria.

ABC reported that some 40 people arrived in Sydney or Melbourne in small groups in August before being taken to Mildura in north-western Victoria.

“Upon arrival, it is believed they moved into accommodation organised by an Australia-based contractor, where they began work picking fruit on farms in the Sunraysia region.

People familiar with the workers told the ABC they had to pay more than $100 rent per week for the accommodation, in addition to transportation fees to get to and from the farms for work, the report said.

A local Victorian Member of Parliament told ABC that the alleged case would not be surprising because worker exploitation was an issue in the Sunraysia region.

The region is known for its sunshine, intensive horticulture including grapes and oranges and grain farms.

According to the report, the allegations first came to light in September after a group of Fijian workers travelled to Sydney and requested support from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

It said that the Australian Border Force carried out an operation in Sunraysia at the beginning of 2019 to try and find workers who might be in the country illegally.

Edited by Rosi Doviverata

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