In the wake of the backpacker’s kidnapping and sexual assault ordeal in Queensland, the mother of murdered British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung has come out and said Australia must do more to ensure the safety of tourists in remote areas.
Rosie Ayliffe said she was horrified about the news about the recent attack, in which a man is alleged to have raped and assaulted a British backpacker over the course of two months, most of which took place during a road trip.
“I imagine her family is traumatised by this. It’s absolutely awful, it’s so frightening what they must be going through,” she said.
Though Ayliffe said that “on the whole, statistically speaking, Australia is safe for travellers,” she pointed to the system by which backpackers are expected to perform 88 days of agricultural labour to maintain their visa as a system which needs more safety oversight.
In the UK, this would involve safety checks and stringent laws related to any accommodation involved in running that program. As the Australian Government is aware, the appropriate checks and balances are not in place in Australia.
She said that because the program is established by the Australian Government, they should be expected to “absorb or at least minimise the risks on that program.”
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said that backpackers and tourists should still feel safe in the state. He rejects the assertion that this woman was targeted because she was a backpacker.
I think this is less about the fact that she was a backpacker and more about the fact that she was a woman that apparently found herself in a vulnerable situation. We don’t want to frighten everybody but we have to of course always be aware of the circumstances and make sure that we have company that we can trust when we go to places that we’re not familiar with.