A rogue labour hire provider has received a huge fine and conviction for operating without a licence under Queensland's Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017.
Yellow Hoa Pty Ltd has been convicted and fined $120,000 in the Caboolture Magistrates Court, the highest penalty imposed to date under Queensland's labour hire licensing laws. Director ThiHoa Duong was also convicted of aiding, counselling or procuring that offence and given a fine of $60,000, with six months' imprisonment in default of payment.
The court action followed a compliance swoop on an Elimbah farm by officers from Queensland's Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit, Australian Border Force and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, who had been tipped off by a member of the public about the exploitation of workers at the property.
Investigations found workers were paid in cash at rates well below the award and weren't paid superannuation. WorkCover Queensland confirmed that at the time, Yellow Hoa had no workers' compensation policy in place to safeguard employees. As a result, Yellow Hoa and its director benefitted financially from deliberately failing to comply with a range of laws.
Yellow Hoa did not apply for a labour hire licence in Queensland, but still illegally provided labour to the farm at Elimbah for a six-month period until 18 June 2019.
In sentencing, Magistrate James Blanch noted the behaviour of the defendant not paying workers properly or paying their superannuation or workers' compensation despite having received funds from the grower was blatantly fraudulent. Additionally, Ms Duong had not cooperated with inspectors and attempted to de-register the company to evade liability just as investigations started.
For more information on Queensland's labour hire licensing scheme go to www.labourhire.qld.gov.au