Who is responsible for the safety of travellers? Govt/themselves/industry. All 3?
The mother of British traveller Mia Ayliffe-Chung (who was fatally stabbed in Queensland), says the Australian Government must do more to protect young travellers in regional areas. Rosie Ayliffe made the comment in response to yesterday’s revelation a female British backpacker who was allegedly abducted and raped in Queensland in an ordeal spanning two months.
The 22-year-old woman was behind the wheel of a four-wheel drive that was pulled over on the Warrego Highway at Mitchell in Queensland’s southern inland last Sunday afternoon. A 22-year-old man from Cairns found hiding in a small alcove of the car now faces multiple counts of rape and strangulation.
It was the latest of several attacks on travellers in Queensland in recent years.
Ms Ayliffe said she was horrified by news stories on the latest attack. “I imagine her family is traumatised by this. It’s absolutely awful, it’s so frightening what they must be going through,” she said.
Last August, Ms Ayliffe’s daughter Mia was stabbed to death at Shelley’s Backpackers in Home Hill, south of Townsville. Mia’s friend Tom Jackson died in hospital several days later from head injuries he received when he came to her aid. Frenchman Smail Ayad was charged with two counts of murder over the attacks.
Ms Ayliffe said while trust was important while travelling abroad, it was also important to be travel smart and not take unnecessary risks. “This is not saying this was the girl’s fault in any way, but what we as a campaign are looking at is a system — 88 days agricultural labour — which can be changed,” she said, speaking about the requirement for backpackers to complete 88 days of agricultural work to obtain a second-year Australian visa.
“In the UK, this would involve safety checks and stringent laws related to any accommodation involved in running that program. “As the Australian Government is aware, the appropriate checks and balances are not in place in Australia.”
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind insisted travellers could still feel safe in the state. He said the most recent attack was not aimed at backpackers. “I think this is less about the fact that she was a backpacker and more about the fact that she was a woman that apparently found herself in a vulnerable situation,” he said. “We don’t want to frighten everybody but we have to of course always be aware of the circumstances and make sure that we have company that we can trust when we go to places that we’re not familiar with.
“Our concern always must be, and is, with the victim, with her family and that’s where our focus has to be.” He said travellers could get into trouble just about anywhere. “I think they can feel safe in Australia. Tragically, things go wrong anywhere in the world sometimes but I think Australia still is a very safe destination.”
He said even in the most dire circumstances, Australia had police and a judicial system that looked after visitors and a community and a tourism industry that demonstrated its concern. “That’s the only thing we can do, it can never be a PR exercise,” he said. “This is about showing your true nature and reassuring our visitors and locals for that matter that we’re a community that cares.”
Does Government need to do more to highlight safer travel in Oz? Does the youth industry need to advise travellers about safer travel in remote areas? Have your say
Sourced by Mike Barrow