Carolina Herrera, 27, from Uruguay and Manuel Ferreyra, 33, from Argentina have slammed the Australian Government for not providing assistance to backpackers who are stranded because of the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Scott Powick.
Carolina Herrera, 27, from Uruguay and Manuel Ferreyra, 33, from Argentina have slammed the Australian Government for not providing assistance to backpackers who are stranded because of the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Scott Powick.

‘What if it was your kids?’: Stranded backpackers slam PM

A WORKING holiday in Australia has turned into a nightmare for a backpacker couple who claim to be stranded in the Tweed.

It is a love story that's taken a turn for the worse.

Manuel Ferreyra, 33 from Argentina followed his sweetheart Carolina Herrera, 27 to Australia to accompany her during a 12 month working holiday.

But six months after living in Sydney's Bondi Junction, the pair fled the city four weeks ago in fear of contracting coronavirus.

Now Ms Herrera, from Uruguay, and Mr Ferreyra are fast running out of money while waiting in Cabarita for restrictions to lift.

Mr Ferreyra said they tried to cross the Queensland border at Stanthorpe three weeks for job prospects, but were turned around.

"Our goal was trying to cross into Queensland for her (Ms Herrera) to do farm or hospitality work for three months and then she can extend her visa," Mr Ferreyra said.

Ms Herrera said when Prime Minister Scott Morrison advised internationals to go home, plane tickets to their home countries in South America, skyrocketed.

"We heard information about other backpackers trying to get back to Argentina and Uruguay and they took the plane for $3000 USD and we couldn't afford two plane tickets," Ms Herrera said.

"And some of them were in an airport for days with hundreds of people from around the world. That was scarier than staying in Australia."

The pair have criticised the Australian Government saying if international workers were not supported, there would be a homeless pandemic.

Ms Herrera said she felt abandoned by the Prime Minister and if it was his children stuck in a foreign country he would expect that country to help.

"It's hard, especially when you see the Prime Minister … doing nothing and acting like we don't matter," she said.

"In six months, hundreds of people, we will all be homeless.

"Nobody wants that situation … but without money in this world, you can't do anything."

Mr Ferreyra said asking their home countries for help was not an option.

"We know from other people that embassies are empty and overwhelmed with urgent cases regarding people who have had their flights cancelled," he said.

The civil engineer said he had enough savings to support himself but only if Ms Herrera had an income.

To help save money Mr Ferreyra reached out to Facebook group Adopt a Backpacker NSW, pleading for accommodation in exchange for work.

He said in the post they were happy to do odd jobs in exchange for accommodation but would prefer paid work.

"There are many people trying to help us, on the other hand there are many people trying to take advantage of backpackers.

"But we have a good eye for scammers."



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