Backpackers ordered to control bed bugs

The Bundaberg Regional Council health and regulatory services has given Bundaberg Backpackers 24 hours to control a bed bug infestation.

It follows the hospitalisation of an English backpacker with complications from allegedly being bitten by bed bugs at the hostel and, at the time of writing, was unable to walk.

BRC’s Wayne Honor said council environmental health officers visited Bundaberg Backpackers on Friday [12 December] in response to complaints from members of the public relating to bed bugs. “The inspection revealed the presence of bed bugs and cockroaches.

“The officers returned to Bundaberg Backpackers yesterday [16 December] and issued a compliance notice giving the owner 24 hours to advise council of actions being undertaken to immediately address the issue. The notice also requires the owner to develop a strategy for undertaking control measures into the future.”

A spokeswoman for Bundaberg Backpackers said, “Our business has always prevented hygiene becoming an issue by having appropriate procedures in place -unfortunately hygiene becomes difficult to manage when procedures are not followed.”

Meanwhile a far north Queensland tour operator has allegedly been underpaying backpackers almost $30,000. Businessman Leigh Alan Jorgensen claimed he never employed the backpackers at his Cairns-based Trek North Tours. The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched legal action against Mr Jorgensen and his company last week.

It’s alleged five backpackers, aged between 23 and 32, were unpaid almost $30,000 in total when they worked for Trek North Tours between August last year and April this year.

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