Emmanuel Bani and his company, Maroochy Sunshine, were fined in March last year after the Federal Circuit Court found workers from Vanuatu had been lured to Australia and then deprived of basic living standards in what was described as ‘appalling treatment’ of the 22 workers.
The workers were chosen to pick fruit and vegetables at farms throughout Bundaberg, the Sunshine Coast and the Lockyer Valley. They were required to fund their own business visas, airfares, medical and police checks, with many taking out loans in their native country to secure the work.
However, most of the promises made to workers were false, with 13 of the 22 workers not paid at all, while the others were given individual cash payments of between $50 and $300.
The Fair Work Ombudsman took action against owner Bani. Cqnews reported how he was personally fined $41,300 on top of the $186,000 fine imposed on his company for underpaying the workers a total of $77,649 over a seven-week period.