With the strawberry season in full swing on the Granite Belt, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has been meeting with growers to remind them they must only use licensed labour hire providers.
Growers have been urged to check the labour hire licensing website to ensure the provider they intend to use is either licensed, or made an application prior to 15 June 2018 (these applications appear in green in the applications list).
Some labour hire providers supplying pickers for the strawberry industry have had their applications withdrawn, which means they are unlicensed and cannot be used. It is an offence for growers to enter into an arrangement with an unlicensed labour hire provider or avoidance arrangements.
The offences and associated penalties for entering into an arrangement with a provider who does not hold a licence to provide labour hire services are very steep, with corporations liable for fines of up to nearly $400,000 and individuals $135,000. There are also jail provisions.
Please check the register of licenses and applications on the labour hire licensing website prior to engaging or using labour hire providers. It is also advisable to have a written agreement with your provider and to include a term requiring them to advise of any dealings with their licence (such as suspension or cancellation).
Since the Labour Hire Licensing Scheme started in April, one license has been suspended and one cancelled, with 3000 licences granted. More than 300 audits of license holders or applicants have been carried out.
If you have any concerns or have difficulty confirming your provider's status visit www.labourhire.qld.gov.au or call 1300 576 088.