The Andrews Labor Government’s labour hire licensing scheme, which protects some of Victoria’s most vulnerable workers and cracks down on shonky operators, is now law.
The Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 passed the Victorian Legislative Council this evening, protecting labour hire workers from being underpaid and exploited by labour hire businesses and hosts.
The scheme is in response to the Victorian Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work – a key election promise – which uncovered widespread abuse and exploitation of workers across Victoria.
Under the scheme, providers of labour hire services will be required to hold a licence and hosts will be required to only use licensed providers.
To obtain a licence, providers will be required to pass “a fit and proper person test” and show compliance with workplace laws, labour hire laws, and minimum accommodation standards.
The legislation also means licensed providers will be listed on a publicly accessible register and rogue operators that do not comply or attempt to flout the scheme will be liable for hefty civil and criminal penalties.
The scheme is broadly similar to labour hire licensing schemes in South Australia and Queensland, and will provide continuing impetus for a national scheme.
An inspectorate within the Labour Hire Licensing Authority will monitor and investigate compliance with the scheme. The Government will now begin to construct the Authority, recruit a Commissioner and design an education campaign for businesses and the community.
Businesses will be able to apply for a licence from next year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins
“Following the damming findings of the independent inquiry, we’ve taken action to clean up the industry and make things fair for labour hire workers across Victoria.”
“There is still time for the Turnbull Government to act on reports by its taskforce on organised crime in Labour Hire and develop a national licensing scheme.”
“Under these new laws, businesses will need to be licenced and do the right thing, or face hefty penalties.”