Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman is making surprise inspections this week of agricultural businesses on the North-West Coast and North of the state to check workers are being properly paid.
The ombudsman is targeting around 20 farms and labour hire companies, including farms where berries, apples and pears are grown, as well as pastoral farms and winegrowers.
Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth says the regulator is acting on intelligence from a range of sources, including anonymous reports, indicating potential underpayment in the region’s agricultural sector.
Ms Booth says the inspections will be holding employers to account if they are not meeting their obligations and appropriate enforcement will be taken.
Fines can be up to $18,000 per contravention for individuals and $93,000 for companies.
She says the agricultural sector engages many vulnerable workers including backpackers and seasonal migrant workers with limited English skills who are at risk of exploitation.