Support for Workers in Queensland
ACRATH’s Regional Coordinator in Queensland, Sr Janine Bliss fmm, has been spending a good bit of time in the Bundaberg area supporting seasonal workers in recent times. The workers are mainly from Vanuatu and Timor-Leste. These workers came to Australia through the Seasonal Workers Program, a government aid programme. It is a sad fact that some of the workers have been exploited during their time in Australia. Janine has been reaching out to workers helping them to understand their rights as workers in Australia.
Janine has been spending even more time in Bundaberg since a recent fire in a local hotel and backpackers’ hostel where 32 seasonal workers – 10 from Timor-Leste and 22 from Vanuatu – were staying. While the workers were not harmed they lost all their possessions. “We would certainly like to look at how we can replace some of the personal items that people lost so I guess if there was a way that if anybody wanted to provide a donation they could send it to ACRATH.” said Sr Janine. “One of the workers lost $1600 US dollars; he withdrew it that day and it was all burnt in the fire. So you can only imagine the stress and trauma involved in losing that kind of money and also on the family at home – how (do) they survive without that money. It’s heart-wrenching.”
The level of support needed by migrant workers during these Covid-19 times has increased. Janine has been instrumental in preparing a kit that could be distributed to workers to inform them about the pandemic and measures they could take to protect themselves. Read more…