Mother of Derbyshire backpacker murdered in Australia calls on government to improve regulations

Mia Ayliffe-Chung.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung.

The mother of Derbyshire backpacker Mia-Ayliffe Chung, who was murdered in Australia, has called on the country's government to act to protect young workers.

Mia-Ayliffe Chung, from Wirksworth, was working on a farm while travelling around Australia and was stabbed to death at the hostel where she was staying last August.

Since her death, Mia's mum Rosie Ayliffe has been campaigning for changes to regulations around farm work involving foreign workers.

Many backpackers visiting Australia carry out 88 days of farm work in their first year so they can extend their visa to stay in the country for a second year, but Mrs Ayliffe is calling for tighter regulations on the farmers who employ the workers, as well as the hostels that accommodate them.

She has also set up an online petition which will be delivered to the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, asking for more to be done.

In the description of the petition, she says: "The problem seems to be that the farm work is largely unregulated in terms of health and safety, and due diligence to workers. My daughter was working in cane fields in Queensland, the notorious domain of a variety of poisonous snakes and spiders, and had no health and safety induction.

"The injustices towards these young travellers are many and varied across the industry.

"For example, in some instances young people are not allowed to drink adequate quantities of water while working, and can therefore end up hospitalised from heat exhaustion and sun stroke.

"Some pay exorbitant fees for unsanitary hostels, others meet injury and even death through inadequate training in the operation of the machinery they are employed to use.

"Snakes are an everyday threat in Australia generally: Mia had no induction in how to deal with a snake bite, and farms do not keep anti-venom on the premises.

"There are even cases of financial and sexual exploitation of young people in exchange for the signing off of visa documents."