Fruit Growers Australia chairman Gary Godwill has slammed dodgy contractors and in his tongue-in-cheek opinion says there needs to be public hangings of wrong-doers.
At the Victorian inquiry into labour hire services held in Shepparton last week, Mr Godwill said there should be better policing and the Fair Work Ombudsman should have the manpower to go after people who do the wrong thing.
Alongside three German backpackers, Mr Godwill said there were pressures that made it difficult for the industry to hire workers.
The three backpackers — Erik Richter, Hanna Gebert and Jonas Ratz — said not only was it hard for workers to chase their pay, but they just shouldn’t have to.
Mr Ratz said money had been a big issue when he was working for a contractor in Griffith, NSW.
‘‘Sometimes you got your money on pay day, but not all of it, nearly always money was missing,’’ Mr Ratz said.
‘‘It was always very random amounts of money.’’
The three backpackers now work and live on Mr Godwill’s property in Shepparton and use services such as MADEC to find work.
A second inquiry heard about a labour hire contractor accused of underpaying 13 people about $3,000 for work they did last year in Toolamba.
Tallygaroopna farmer Frank Carmichael spoke on behalf of workers who had been employed at a Toolamba tomato packing shed.
He said most of the workers were unable to speak enough English to be able to address the inquiry.
He said the workers did not know how to chase their wages.
Mr Carmichael said the workers still hadn’t received any payment for the work they did.