Border Force does checks on illegal workers

Australian Border Force officers have inspected several North Queensland solar farms after allegations foreign workers were illegally employed in favour of locals.

Sources said ABF officers visited the Hayman and Daydream solar farms, managed by engineering firm RCR Tomlinson, in Collinsville on Friday.

An ABF spokeswoman confirmed "employer awareness visits" had taken place. "Australian Border Force officers have been conducting employer awareness visits at a number of renewable energy businesses in Collinsville," she said. They are "routinely conducted to ensure businesses understand their responsibility to employ lawful workers".

It is understood the visit was a result of allegations the solar farms had employed backpackers to work on projects in favour of locals.

Dawson MP George Christensen said he referred allegations he had received from members of the community to Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge about two weeks ago.

"I was certainly aware that the matter was being looked at by the ABF," he said.

"I do know people who made certain allegations, that the ABF conducted interviews with them earlier this week."

The information he passed on to the Department of Home Affairs included allegations the solar farms were engaging employees "not in accord with their visa situation", he said.

Mr Christensen said the ABF officers' "swift" response showed how seriously this type of allegation was taken.

CFMEU regional coordinator Mick Robinson said there were a number of serious allegations related to the solar farms.

"This isn't just about the alleged misuse of foreign workers, this is about the possible exploitation of foreign labour," he said.

A spokesman for RCR Tomlinson was contacted for comment.


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