BACKPACKER REVEALS THE DARK SIDE TO FARM WORK IN AUSTRALIA
Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, uses the motto "Pick fruit, find love and get likes on Instagram" to appeal to young Australians as he tries to fill the looming harvest labour shortage of around 26,000 workers by March.
However, a backpacker shared her experience of working on the farms in Australia – which is not all that good. "I did end up falling head-over-heels in love on a farm, have an abundance of friends I'll have for the rest of my life and carry so many ridiculous memories that I won't be forgetting in a hurry."
The backpacker added that extremely low pay, sleazy farmers and getting hit and screamed at by supervisors all appeared to be part of working in agriculture.
Every backpacker is required to complete 88 days of regional work in order to apply for a second working holiday visa in Australia.
After being told not to, she decided to work at Federal Hostel in Bundaberg, Queensland, which is a hotspot for international backpackers on the hunt for hourly work.
It was not all roses and sunshine as the actual work resulted in countless breakdowns, people tearfully leaving their jobs and some of the most old-fashioned and backwards treatment of workers. "BACKPACKERS!' I heard being screamed to us on day one of my sweet potato farm job. 'NO TALKING!'"
She further added; "But, as we reached the sixth hour of attempting to plant sweet potatoes in the ground, I felt my legs being lightly whipped with a vine by our supervisor as she tried to make me run faster down the field. You'll have to fire me as I'm literally gasping for breath, I can't keep up,' I said, wondering what on earth was happening.
"Another of my friends, Ellie, had been working at a different hostel on 'piece rate' - where you're paid for what you pick, rather than an hourly wage. 'It was f**king grim,' she said. 'The lowest we got paid is about $23 for hours and hours of picking, and there was just nothing to pick. We couldn't afford rent, but of course they didn't care and we had to pay anyway."
The backpacker went on as she explained her next tragic story on another farm. "On a different farm, I was asked to fix water sprinklers in a field when one of the farmers came over to me. 'It looks like you've got a wet p***y there,' he said. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry."
However, despite the horrible experience she indeed found love. "I fell in love in the midst of farm work. I'll never know if it was the way he seductively drove a tractor, how he made planting macadamia trees look so easy or just how stunning he was to look at, but I knew I'd fallen for Josh within a matter of weeks. Within a couple of months I'd moved in with him, and now he's come over to Sydney so we can live together here. I've honestly never been happier."
"However, if Mr McCormack wants to incentivise more people to sign up to regional work, there should be more than just the hope of 'romance' and cute Instagram snaps on the cards," she said.
The experienced backpacker added that piece rates should be regulated; no one should have to work hours on end in a scorching hot field for literal pennies.
"Farms should be more regulated. If someone smacked someone in London for not doing their job properly, they'd be locked up. Why it's any different for backpackers is unbelievable."