Queensland Parliament has heard how the state's labour hire licensing laws are being welcomed across the state, with more than 3,100 licences granted to labour hire providers in the first 15 months of the new scheme.
"Now more than 12 months since the new laws started on 16 April 2018, I am glad to report that the new laws have been a great success, lifting the standard of the industry and protecting vulnerable workers from exploitation," Ms Grace told Parliament recently.
Ms Grace said the number of licences granted far exceeded expectations when the Government introduced the laws governing Australia's first labour hire licensing scheme.
"We have finally regulated a sector that was left unregulated for far too long," Ms Grace said.
"Before the new laws came in, you had to have a licence to sell a car and you had to have a licence to sell a house, but you did not need a licence to sell labour, and this was an untenable situation.
"The issues encountered by some workers in the labour hire industry have been well documented - cases of wage theft, sexual harassment, substandard housing and serious workplace health and safety risks.
"Since it came in, 13 licences have been refused, 13 have been given with conditions, 113 have been withdrawn for failing to provide compliance information, 14 have been cancelled and 140 have been suspended at some point, with 44 under current supervision.
"The compliance unit is doing a great job. They have linked with the ATO, with Border Force, with the Fair Work Ombudsman, with WorkCover, with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, with emergency services and with local councils to break the business model of unscrupulous providers, particularly in the area where they were also providing substandard accommodation.
"There have been great benefits come out of this. We will pursue labour hire providers not doing the right thing, and we have already had one successful prosecution."
Ms Grace said employers, workers and the wider community – as well as providers doing the right thing by their workers – appreciated the safety net the legislation provided, as well as the level playing field it provided.
"The biggest praise we are getting is from those employers in the labour hire industry who were doing the right thing but were continually being undercut by those who are obviously not doing the right thing," she said.
Ms Grace said providers' biggest complaint was that they would tender for work and be undercut by labour hire providers who were not meeting award conditions, health and safety standards, their WorkCover premiums, and their superannuation obligations.
Find our more about Queensland's labour hire licensing laws and download the Anniversary report of Australia's first labour hire licensing scheme at labourhire.qld.gov.au/.