Sunday 29 November 2009

Bodgy dodgy backpacker operaters alive and unwell

There's dodgy backpacker, share house and hostel operators in Cairns. Who would have thought?

Many establishments are "squalid and cramped conditions" and there's many "unscrupulous landlords" in Cairns, Tully and Innisfail.

Many are cramming up to 12 people in three-bedroom houses with beds blocking exits, no smoke alarms and overloaded power points.

"Some houses are operating on a policy that authorities have dubbed 'time share mattresses', where shift workers on separate day and night rosters share the same bed," reports The Sunday Mail.

Most charge at least $150 a week for a bed, in what is a makeshift hostel, often it comes with "guaranteed farm jobs and a pick-up and drop-off service" to entice southern travellers.

An owner of a legal Cairns share house, who calls himself a responsible landlord, told CairnsBlog he has reported dodgy operators in the past. His central city share house has three bedrooms, with five residents.

"I've repeatedly attempted to get Cairns Regional Council officers to close down at least seven known problem properties," the operator said, who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisal.

"One I reported to Council had three bedrooms with 17 residents. But the big business-dominated Council is not interested in interfering with these illegal housing spots. They instead encourage continued violations of the law so that restaurants in town can have cheap, $10/hour "cash in hand" employees. It's despicable," he says.

An Innisfail hostel manager says that there are more than 20 illegal share-houses in Innisfail and Tully. "There are no safety checks in these places, no inspections by authorities, no guidelines to ensure the safety of people living there," said Nicholas Pervan.

In 2000, a hostel fire in Childers killed 15 people due to arson, which many believed was exacerbated by over-crowding and a number of other Council breaches.

1 comment:

Totally Over Backpackers said...

But then you have the other extreme whereby that moron backpacker was somehow staying in that new apartment block called the Marquis on Grafton street, and he caused over $100,000 worth of damage to the building because, he stupidly tapped his mobile phone on the fire alarm glass bubble and it broke, setting of the water sprinklers in the building.

He dodged the law and was let off, but the damage would have had to have been paid by insurance (read here, current insurance policy holders, and no doubt will add to rising premiums for all), for the stupid actions of drunken imbeciles like him.

He should have been made to pay or his parents pay for the damage caused.