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12 August 2009 Page 1 of 2

To Kevin Rudd between blogs and Centre Link (Broken Hill office) from Gary Looney (Menindee)
Past Union & ongoing Government policy has involved reduction of liability at all costs, unqualified
promotion for failure & stuff the people, as experience demonstrates. Not much different to Telstras!
Many Menindee residents, including me were employed during the picking seasons under the
ownership of Stan Andriski , Cotrel or Eric Biggs Grape Growers with virtually no illegal immigrants.
Tandou started to grow more cotton & employed chippers using a contractor to separate liability, in
order to maintain or entrap workers. Illegal immigrants and those being also on benefit were welcomed!
There was a worker living in a bare van body with broken windows dumped behind a shed for example,
as long as you were there they did not care. Young workers travelling the country side or also receiving
benefit did not care, working beside illegal immigrants. Workers were often forced to work over 12
hours a day for 6 and 7 days a week, to work with inadequate water and were paid less than the award,
also without full penalty rates. Fuel was sold to workers owning and having to use their own cars to get
the work force to/from the fields, around the 25km long lake bed. Conditions were investigated &
found to be well below standards in regards to camp health standards and charges including rent
regardless of whether you lived under a tarp. Working conditions failed health & safety standards with
illegal omission of work breaks, lack of shelter and inadequate water.
Alcohol, Privately slaughtered meat, food goods and petrol were sold illegally and helped to entrap
workers. Almost the whole chipping crew were sprayed with the Chemical Endosolfin by spray plane one
day, the Company basically denied it & no EPA action was taken on workers complaints of the event.

Tandou and the Australian workers union negotiated privately and pushed a purposed new pay rate to
the work force, with virtually no employee notice.
I had taken the day off and returned to find employees had participated in a vote organized by the AWU
and Tandou resulting in a rate and penalty change with net reduction of award and penalty entitlement.
I collected pay sheets representing a single worker for the whole season and summed the total payment
Tandou was making to the worker. I then calculated the total amount payable to the same worker for
the same hours using the previously unpaid award rate over the whole season.
Other factors for itinerant workers were also outlined for consideration of a fair compromise!

The contractor refused to help when I asked to meet and talk with the union official. Lake workers told
me of his location on the lake so I walked kms and finally tracked him down, explaining he cannot allow
illegal workers to vote on our wage rate and put forward my pay sheet accumulated figures.

A Shearers union had been parked just outside the chippers camp a few times during the season and
told me I should join them and provide them with the pay sheets, the discussion turned to the union
using intimidation and pressuring me to join!
I explained that changes need to be made on fact and honesty, which both unions were failing to
demonstrate. The fact that I wanted to forward my experience and view personally and refused to join
them was seen as not acceptable, there was abuse direct towards me from this union as I walked away.
When I went back to Menindee a member of the Shearers union king hit me which resulted in
hospitalization and a serious neck injury. I tried to continue working whilst in a lot of pain and was asked
politely to leave by the contractor!

You will find or remember that Social security along with police and immigration raided Tandou Lake
Chippers Camp and dragged us all out of bed to a grassy area near the Contractors office, some of the
illegal immigrants and workers receiving benefit were caught.
During this season I had sent hundreds of letters to Government and unions with full documentation of
events. When immigration released the information of illegal workers publically I again forward my
documentation to Government and unions with this additional supporting information. Cotton Chippers
rates were changed again with a base rate increase traded for changes to the penalty rates, resulting in
a fairer compromise which became the practice of similar itinerant employment sectors today!
12 August 2009 Page 2 of 2
To Kevin Rudd between blogs and Centre Link (Broken Hill office) from Gary Looney (Menindee)
Past Union & ongoing Government policy has involved reduction of liability at all costs, unqualified
promotion for failure & stuff the people, as experience demonstrates. Not much different to Telstras!
Word around was that I was black listed by Tandou and no one should employ me, a Greek family with
grapes in Menindee always employed my family as we were respected as good workers and friends.
I was latter told by this Greek family that they were given the message not to employ me, and explained
that although it had made them uncomfortable I would always be welcome. This family later sold their
grape property to Table Grape Growers.

TGG employed me without actually knowing they had done so when using a contractor, I was employed
to work with the grapes and had to go to a pre work initiation were pictures were used rather than
talking, because a large number of the employees could not speak English. Our contractor only
employed legal Australians for a government contracted employment network agency and the whole 26
or more of us Australians and contractor were sacked by TGG, I helped some that traveled from places
like Queensland for this work, to try and get them money so they could drive home.

There is mixed opinion in the Menindee community in regards to my actions and me, many see me as a
traitor to our community and a risk to business that the work force provides in areas such as poker
machine use during the season for example. I was verbally assaulted recently by an employer who was
acting like I had reported or threatened to report them to immigration or something.

Previously I was employed by Boulevard Motel in Mildura which was initiated and organized through
Mildura social security were the Employer is paid part of your wage for a set period by Government.
Whilst employed the employer continued to ask me to carry out or help him carry out illegal tasks,
including rewiring of room heaters connected directly to the fuse box with heavy wall cabling, of which I
He also directed me to rotate the mattresses as the bottom floor got more use, this involved carrying
each double bed mattress from the above rooms downstairs to the lower rooms, and the bellow
mattresses upstairs! My back was injured trying to carry one of these mattresses upstairs and my
employer told me that official documentation would not be required, that he would provide medical
treatment. I was in a bit of pain and just wanted to get treatment so went to see the assumed specialist
who turned out to be more like the family massager, not a doctor!

It became obvious this injury would not go away. I went to social security & explained what had
happened, I could not work properly with the injury and this employer was only abusing me and the
system so I requested severance pay.
Social Security offered no assistance in regards to the employer legality or actions they would take in
this matter, only assurance that I would be eligible for benefit due to the injury sustained!
Documentation was made by Mildura social security at the time as it was later found when I discussed
this mater in the Broken Hill centre link office.
Were in this chain of events would your office or another relevant Government office acknowledge
such events and do things differently? Make the types of changes that I actively fought to make!

If I Put my back in the wrong position under weight, it can result in total disability which has seen me
stuck at home for more than a day, unable to move or contact help with no communication system.
Attacks similar to asthma have also affected me. I realized some time back that some physical jobs may
not be possible for me going forward and have worked towards learning Computer based technology
and internet based business as a sustainable alternative. My internet connection under the
Governments Australian Broadband Guarantee was recently disconnected, leaving me in a position
where I would have less flexibility in usage time and pay considerably more to connect with a
replacement provider. I want the connection restored with reliable & affordable provider of a large plan