Backpacker stuns with $15,000 claim: 'How can you be poor in Australia?'

His 'ignorant' question stirred up anger online while other commended his work ethic.

A French backpacker has sparked a heated online debate after asking one controversial question — "How can you be poor in Australia?".

The migrant is currently working in Western Australia as a fruit picker and claimed in a TikTok video he has saved $15,000 after a three month stint at a rural farm. Despite being on minimum wage, the backpacker shared he was not disheartened by his labours as he felt well compensated for his minimum 50-hour weeks.

"I earn more now than with my masters degree in France," he said in the video.

The backpacker holding a chainsaw on his cherry picker.
The backpacker said he uses his cherry picker to cuts down trees and also picks fruit during his working hours. Source: TikTok / iamaustraliannow

'Ignorant' question on TikTok divides internet

The backpacker's video prompted strong opinions in the comments section, with some commending his efforts and can-do attitude.

"Not everyone has your drive and willingness to go outside of the expensive places… good on ya mate - you have a good attitude," one user wrote.

"You have a great work ethic and some people don't know how to save," another said.

However, others questioned the legitimacy of his claims and felt attacked by what he was insinuating from the controversial question.

"Maybe because there’s a rental crisis and not everyone is able to move to the middle of nowhere to work on a farm, especially full-time parents, disabled etc," one man wrote, while another included math workings to calculate whether or not the backpacker's claims were accurate, before commenting, "So unless you spent $270 in 3 months, $15k doesn't make sense".

According to Fair Work Ombudsman, a casual adult fruit or vegetable picker should be paid at least $26.73 per hour.

It is common for backpackers to undertake specified rural work, such as fruit picking and other agricultural tasks in regional Australia. It is a requirement for working holiday visa holders from certain countries to complete 88 days of labour to allow them to extend their visas in Australia for a second or third year.

With many migrants reporting they were underpaid and experienced poor working conditions while attempting to meet the government's visa requirements, this story will certainly be encouraging for many.

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