As Queensland farms start to take on seasonal workers for planting, harvesting and other tasks, employers have been warned not to take shortcuts when it comes to sourcing labour.
Queensland recently marked the fourth anniversary of its pioneering labour hire licensing scheme. As the first operational scheme in Australia, it continues to lead the way in preventing worker exploitation and maintaining a level playing field for employers. Four years on, there are now nearly 4,000 licensed labour hire providers operating throughout Queensland across all industries.
Under the scheme, all providers must be licensed, and users of labour hire services must only use licensed operators. There are maximum penalties for breaches of these obligations of over $410,000. Licensees must also demonstrate their ability to comply with relevant state and Commonwealth laws, that they are financially viable, and fit and proper to provide labour hire services.
The Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit has taken – and will continue to take – strong action where necessary to protect vulnerable workers and ensure legitimate providers are not disadvantaged. The unit has formed close associations with local, state and federal agencies and together they have acted to disrupt the activities of unscrupulous labour hire providers.
Since 2018, the Queensland scheme has delivered:
- 19 successful prosecutions with fines of more than $1.1m imposed by the courts
- over 350 applications withdrawn because the provider was unable to provide evidence they could comply
- 153 licences issued with conditions allowing close monitoring of the labour hire provider
- 308 licences suspended for various reasons, including failing to lodge required reports, dishonesty, non-compliance with relevant laws and lack of financial viability
- 95 licences cancelled for several reasons, including non-compliance with relevant laws and no longer being fit and proper to provide labour hire services in Queensland.
More information on the scheme is at https://www.labourhire.qld.gov.au/.