Who is responsible for the safety of travellers? Govt/themselves/industry. All 3?

March 9th, 2017 | | industry

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.

“I think on the whole, statistically speaking, Australia is safe for travellers,” Ms Ayliffe said. “Mia and Tom were involved in a work program initiated by the Australian Government and it should be expected that the Government absorb or at least minimise the risks on that program.

“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

Source: ABC


3 Responses

  1. John George says:

    I think the Government needs to introduce a visa where some backpackers can actually bring their mothers with them, because a minority are so completely lacking in any life skills they should not have been let out of their home country on their own.
    Can’t wash up, can’t think, have no concept of time, cannot put anything away or in the bin, no concept of working hard, an unmatched ability to drink to oblivion, an expectation that staying out until 2 or 3 in the morning and then going to work at 7 can be fair for their employer, cannot shut doors, turn off lights or put ciggie butts anywhere but on the ground, no concern for anyone else … the list goes on.
    I depend on backpackers for the success of my business, but there are some that need to learn it isn’t always the employers fault that they got the sack, they actually need to learn some responsibility for themselves and that there are consequences of their own making if the cannot.
    It is seriously hard work thinking for myself and then trying to think for some of them as well because they seem incapable of doing it themselves.
    So does the Government need to do more. NO.

  2. Suzi says:

    I absolutely agree with you John George.

    I rely 100% on backpackers for my business too and the comments you made not only made me laugh but had me nodding my head in agreement.

    We are farmers (I have just made the same comment in a different article) and we run farms not kindergartens. Although sometimes I feel like their mother!

    I have no idea how many young travellers go missing, get abducted, get drunk and fall in front of trains in Europe but I am sure it is comparable to here. Stop blaming Australia!

  3. John George says:

    As we peeled a drunken English backpacker of the couch at our hostel this morning where he had passed out after a night of drinking, watched him stagger past the bottles, cans and food wrappers we just wondered who should be looking out for him. At 2am last night he rang our number mistakenly trying to order a pizza, arrived to stay with no money a few days ago so couldn’t pay his rent, theoretically had a job which seems to have disappeared, and then sent a brief text message late one evening asking if the was any jobs he could do.
    Another that we took to work this morning at 7.15 had boasted about how he had only had 4 hours sleep. He will work for $22.13 per hour, but value for money … probably not.
    This follows 2 who we no longer have staying with us as the work they did one day was ‘too hard’ so they just didn’t get up to go the next day , didn’t tell anyone, left the farmer with no workers.
    So please don’t tell me that we exploit people, that working hostels are just scams and that backpackers need more protection.
    Although yes, I guess some do … from themselves.