May 2018 | Key farm scheme badly rorted, migrant workers paid $8 an hour

Date: 19 May 2018

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Tulia Roqara hoped to make enough money picking tomatoes at a farm outside Shepparton to be able set up a pastry shop back in Vanuatu.

Instead, after five months of gruelling work, Ms Roqara will return home next week to her two young sons with next to nothing.

She was one of a group of about 50 workers from Vanuatu paid as little as $8 an hour under what is meant to be Australia’s most stringent temporary migrant worker scheme.

Speaking to the The Sunday Age from the caravan park where she has lived since December, Ms Roqara and her co-workers say they were exposed to dangerous working conditions.

That includes inhaling an intense chemical stench after spraying at the farm. It was particularly strong as they knelt down to pick tomatoes.