Victoria’s first ever Labour Hire Licensing Scheme, which protects workers and cracks down on dodgy operators, will come into force on 29 April – with contractors given six months to sign up or else face significant penalties.
Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas today said the scheme will bring a new level of integrity and scrutiny to the labour hire sector and ensure vulnerable workers are kept safe from exploitation and being underpaid.
The scheme is in response to the independent 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 only be allowed to 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, as well as report annually on their activities.
Host employers that use unlicensed providers face fines of up to $500,000.
Legislation establishing the scheme passed last year and also led to the establishment of the Labour Hire Authority, which is now operating from Bendigo. The authority is responsible for the rollout of the scheme and will support its implementation with education, enforcement and compliance activities.
Over the next month, the authority will deliver more than 20 industry sessions across the state to peak bodies and key labour hire operating sectors.
Victoria’s labour hire industry turns over about $4.5 billion annually and covers workers in the horticulture, meat and cleaning sectors.
Coalition Members of Parliament voted against these vital laws last year, showing their true colours and turning their backs on Victoria’s most vulnerable workers.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas
“While the Liberals and Nationals voted against these laws, we’ve taken strong action to clean up the industry and put workers first following the damning findings of the independent inquiry.”
“A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is a fundamental right and one we will uphold – this scheme is part of our zero-tolerance approach to the exploitation of Victorian workers.”
Quotes attributable to Labour Hire Authority Commissioner Steve Dargavel
“The Labour Hire Authority is looking forward to making sure that the rights of labour hire workers are protected, and to driving improved accountability and transparency across the labour hire industry.”
“This is a strong scheme that will bring about much-needed regulatory reform in an industry where more protection is needed.”