Tourism

Backpackers to help out with bushfire relief efforts

The federal government has announced a new scheme to get backpackers involved in rebuilding bushfire-affected communities.

A joint media release from the minister for tourism, Simon Birmingham, and the acting minister for immigration, Alan Tudge, said backpackers can work in Australia for six months longer if they help with bushfire recovery efforts.

“It means working holidaymakers can help rebuild homes, fences and farms, they can get onto properties and help with demolition, land clearing, and repairing dams, roads and railways,” Tudge said.

“This recovery will be driven locally, by local workers and communities. But this will be a massive recovery effort and we want businesses and charitable organisations to have as many boots on the ground as they need.”

The new measures will mean working holidaymakers who come to Australia with money to spend, will help boost local economies and also spend money they earn in Australia, in the fire-affected towns where they work.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) director Peter Shelley said the measure will also see an injection of tourism spending into struggling regions.

“While the bushfires attracted the attention of people across the globe, allowing visitors to be involved in the recovery effort will not only help Australians, but it will also create global engagement in rebuilding our communities,” Shelley said.

“The working holidaymaker program has always been about supporting a young person to build a life-long relationship and this is an excellent time to be inviting more people to get to know the Australian way of life.”

Featured image credit: iStock.com/mihailomilovanovic

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