While the Reserve Bank says over and over that wages growth needs to lift substantially, the government continues to do its best to enable employers to undercut wages growth. This time it's in Australia's most exploitive industry after the sex industry: fruit-picking.
Australia's horticulture industry is now a by-word for exploitation, wage theft, sexual assault and harassment -- almost invariably of young foreign workers holidaying here, or temporary migrants here under labour agreements, or the large number of illegal entrants that arrived from countries like Malaysia when Peter Dutton lost control of our borders as Home Affairs minister.
Boris Johnson demanded that Australia dump its requirement that working holidaymakers work for 88 days in the agriculture sector after case after case after case after case of murder, rape, theft and exploitation emerged from the horticulture sector in recent years, often reported in UK and foreign media outlets. The only problem is that it will take five years to phase out. How many backpackers will be murdered, raped, harassed or ripped off between now and 2026?