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Published on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Australia looks to backpackers to rebuild after bush fires






Australia has eased working restrictions for backpackers who help out on farms that were hit by the recent bushfires.


Previously the visas only allowed people to work in the same place for up to six months, but that has been increased to 12 with immediate effect.


The plan is to get 'as many boots on the ground as they need'. In a statement, immigration minister Alan Tudge said: "It means working holiday makers can help rebuild homes, fences and farms, they can get onto properties and help with demolition, land clearing, and repairing dams, roads and railways."


Backpackers will also get assistance applying for a visa to spend a second year in Australia. Previously this only applied to people doing paid work in regional areas.


He also added that getting more backpackers out to affected areas would bring benefits for wider communities. "It brings money into those local communities as well," said Tudge.


"Backpackers tend to earn the money then go and spend it in a very short amount of time in those local areas as well so they're great for local communities on a number of fronts."


Australia's minister for trade, tourism and investment, Simon Birmingham, said that getting more holidaymakers into these communities was essential to protect local jobs and 'keep local businesses alive'.

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