Activity 12(k)

1.  A person is virtually bonded like a slave to a particular provider on the basis they have been told they won’t have their visa extension signed unless they see out the season with them. This is effectively extortion which is clearly illegal.

2. Piece rates refers to rates of pay that directly linked to pieces of work that have been performed (e.g. $10 per 50 kg of apples picked).

3. Payments made ‘off the books’ refers to payments made (to workers for example) that are not recorded in any official work documents. it means that the employer he’s able to escape other legal obligations, such as other work related expenses (e.g. workers compensation insurance) and tax laws. it makes it difficult for investigators
because there are no records available that help to determine if employees are being paid legal rates of pay and/or are being exploited under the law.

4.Multiple subcontracting levels means that a contractor (such as a business that is set up to supply a farmer with a workforce) employs the services of another
contractor (a sub contractor) to perform part or all of a given contract, and then this contractor then employs the services of another (third) contractor to do the

5. These types of workers are likely to be working in this industry because they are typically young backpackers who are relatively itinerant (moving from one place to another over relatively short periods of time) and prefer shorter contracts as well as working outdoors. These ‘backpackers’ also know that work is plentiful on Australian farms with |ittle experience required. They are more likely to be underpaid because they sometimes don’t have a strong grasp of the English language and, being relatively young, feel somewhat disempowered compared to farm owners. Many of these workers are also keen to underreport earnings and are keen not to jeopardise their chances of having their visa extended, which confers considerable power to the employer.

5. Being an ethical farmer results in higher costs and lower profit margins given that ethical farmers will be paying workers legal rates of pay compared to unethical farmers who will be paying below legal rates of pay. It therefore doesn’t ‘pay’ to be an ethical farmer.