on air now

‘We need all hands on deck’: Backpackers called in to bushfire recovery effort

Backpackers are being brought in as reinforcements for the bushfire recovery effort under a new plan by the federal government.

The visa system will be overhauled so backpackers are incentivised to help farmers and communities rebuild after the crisis.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has announced three major changes following a recommendation from the National Bushfire Recovery Agency.

  • Backpackers can work for an employer for 12 months instead of six months
  • Construction work is now included as part of the designated activities backpackers are allowed to participate in
  • Up to three months of voluntary work will now count towards backpackers’ eligibility for a second-year visa

Mr Tudge tells Deborah Knight the response to the announcement has been significant and overwhelmingly positive.

“They’re very practical measures just to get more people on the ground.

“Going right now because we need all hands on deck.”

Deborah Knight has praised the idea, saying “it makes so much sense”

“It’s a really practical way of helping communities.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview


Image: SMH/Kate Geraghty