Backpackers in Queensland in 'deadly' hostels (November 28, 2009)
THESE are the squalid and cramped conditions backpackers are living in as they flood into far-northern towns in search of seasonal work.
Unscrupulous landlords in Cairns, Tully and Innisfail are cramming up to 12 people in three-bedroom houses with beds blocking exits, no smoke alarms and dangerously overloaded power points.
Some houses are operating on a policy that authorities have dubbed "time share mattresses", where shift workers on separate day and night rosters share the same bed. They are charged up to $150 each per week to live in makeshift hostels, with guaranteed farm jobs and a pick-up and drop-off service.