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Harmony Community Cleaning members and their supporters (SBS)

A deal with Airbnb has given a Canberra cleaning company, made up of Karen refugees from Myanmar, a major boost.

The company was started after a group of 22 refugee cleaners took a Canberra company to court over underpayment, and won.

Rosemary Bolger
Presented by
Mu Laing Thein
Published on
Saturday, March 2, 2019 - 22:33
File size
14.28 MB
7 min 48 sec

Accommodation giant Airbnb is urging its Canberra hosts to use Harmony Community Cleaning to get their place ready for guests.

The online platform is also funding a business development manager to help the company expand and provide more permanent jobs for refugees.

It's a big boost for the co-operative enterprise comprised of about 40 Karen refugees who fled Myanmar and Thailand before settling in Canberra. 

About half of its members were previously employed by a company that was found guilty of underpayment and ordered to pay more than $230,000 in compensation in 2015. 

United Voice ACT secretary Lyndal Ryan said the language barrier and the lack of a manufacturing industry in the nation's capital, means many refugees' first job in Australia is with cleaning companies.  

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