The Queensland Government has introduced mandatory labour hire laws which aim to give workers increased protection in a regulated industry where employers will be held accountable for doing the wrong thing.
State Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the Queensland Government would lead the way in the fight to ensure some of the most vulnerable workers are not subject to exploitation or mistreatment.
“Labour hire has been an unregulated industry for far too long and, unfortunately, this has meant some rogue operators with scant regard for their obligations have been able to take advantage of employees,” Ms Grace said.
“In the past there have been cases of workers being underpaid or unpaid, being sexually harassed, forced to work ridiculously long hours, housed in crowded, sub-standard accommodation, or exposed to serious risks to their safety.
“These laws will enhance Queensland’s reputation as a great place to work, including for backpackers and migrant workers who follow the seasonal harvest trail around the state,” she said.
Ms Grace said the scheme sets minimum standards for labour hire providers and was established following extensive consultation with stakeholders.
“Labour hire providers are now required to be licenced in Queensland and businesses who need to hire labour must only use licenced providers,” she said.
“You need a licence to sell a house and you need one to sell a car, so it only makes sense that you would need a licence to hire out labour.
“To obtain a licence, a labour hire provider must demonstrate that they are fit and proper to provide these services, can comply with relevant state and Commonwealth laws and that their business is financially viable,” she said.
A newly formed Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit will be responsible for regulating and ensuring compliance with the new scheme.
“Existing labour hire providers have until 15 June 2018 to apply for a licence and can continue to operate while their application is being processed.
“All labour hire providers operating in Queensland need to be licenced under the scheme – including those based interstate or overseas who supply workers in Queensland.
“Be warned – if you provide labour hire services in Queensland without a licence or try to avoid your responsibilities, you may face jail time, a hefty fine or your licence may be cancelled,” Ms Grace said.