Dept knew about illegal workers

‘A lot of people were apathetic,’ he told the Times after recent police raids at a major tomato grower in Safari Place, Carabooda.

‘I would ring the Immigration Department regularly and say ‘What are you doing, there’s illegals out here everywhere.’

‘They said ‘Look you can’t prove that’ and I’d say ‘Why don’t you guys investigate?”

The former Moore MHR, who owns a Carabooda avocado farm, also rang the City of Wanneroo about the workers’ living conditions ” sheds and sub-standard quarters.

He said the council did respond a few times but it was ‘too hard and they were intimidated’.

Dr Washer said his farm manager was once approached by a man who said he had an ABN number and for a fee could supply the business with labour.

When asked the hourly rate of pay, the man had said ‘Make us an offer.’

‘We don’t do business like that,’ Dr Washer said of his rejection of the offer.

‘We employ backpackers (at the legal rate)’