Tough New Laws To Crack Down On Labour Hire Exploitation

10 September 2017

The Andrews Labor Government is cracking down on the abuse and exploitation of Victorian workers with a suite of new reforms to clean up the labour hire industry.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins today joined workers to announce the details of a new scheme to hold all labour hire firms to tough new licencing standards.

The new 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.

It found rogue operators were underpaying workers, not ensuring proper safety standards, abusing worker visas and undermining the minimum standards of employment.

To stop this exploitation, the Labor Government will introduce a universal licensing scheme to protect workers across all sectors from labour hire providers that have been operating in the shadows of our workplace laws.

Under the tough new scheme:

  • A license can only be obtained through passing a “fit and proper person test” and by demonstrating compliance with workplace, labour hire industry and migration laws and minimum accommodation standards
  • Licensed Providers will be listed on a public register and employers will be required to only use licensed labour hire providers
  • A new independent, fit-for-purpose, statutory authority – headed by a Commissioner – will be established to oversee and enforce the scheme, and will be able to inspect and raid premises.

Rogue operators who do not comply, or attempt to flout the scheme by entering into avoidance arrangements will be liable for hefty civil and criminal penalties.

The Government expects to introduce legislation into the Parliament later this year.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“The inquiry exposed the shocking underbelly of worker abuse and proved that the industry has been left unregulated for far too long – and now we’re changing that.”

“Every worker has the right to be treated with fairness and respect. Under our tough new laws rogue operators will no longer be able to get away with exploitation or abuse.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins

“This scheme will bring some much needed transparency to the labour hire industry. Businesses will need to show they treat their workers fairly and become licensed or face hefty penalties.”

“In Victoria we have a proud history of standing up for the rights of workers and the scheme announced today will go a long way in preventing further exploitation.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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