The Andrews Labor Government is protecting vulnerable workers, with the new labour hire licensing scheme officially starting.
From today, only labour hire providers that have been granted a licence, or have a decision pending on their application, are allowed to operate in Victoria.
The scheme is the biggest reform of Victoria’s labour hire industry and introduces a new level of integrity and scrutiny to the sector by cracking down on dodgy operators that exploit, abuse or mistreat workers.
The Labor Government has invested $8.5 million to set up the Bendigo-based Labour Hire Authority, which is responsible for licences, monitoring and enforcing compliance, as well as providing advice to the industry.
All providers who have made an application before the cut-off date can continue operating as per normal until a decision is made.
Since April 2019, more than 3,841 applications have been received, with 464 approvals to date. The Authority is working through compliance concerns with more than 30 per cent of applicants.
In the past six months, the Authority has uncovered multiple instances of unfair treatment, including:
- 30+ workers living in a single three-bedroom home at a cost of $100 a week
- Workers being forced to sleep in garages on thin mattresses with no access to bathrooms or kitchens
- Workers being transported on overcrowded vehicles
- Workers being charged to watch television in provided housing or for basic equipment needed for work
- Workers being underpaid thousands of dollars due to incorrect award classifications
The Authority has spoken with thousands of providers and hosts across Victoria through over 120 forums and stakeholder engagement sessions, conducted two advertising campaigns and attended to over 6,000 phone calls assisting businesses with their applications.
For more information or to report concerns about worker mistreatment or an unlicensed labour hire operator, visit labourhireauthority.vic.gov.au or call the Authority on 1300 545 200.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas
“Exploitation and mistreatment are far too common in the labour hire industry and we’re cracking down on it – protecting workers and creating a level playing field for providers.”
“Our message to dodgy operators is clear – if your business model relies on the abuse and underpayment of workers, then your business is simply not viable.”
Quote attributable to Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner Steve Dargavel
“The Authority is here to help and we encourage anyone in the industry to contact us for information or guidance about labour hire licensing.”