Tough new rules for labour hire providers: Qld bill


Tough new rules for labour hire providers: Qld bill

A new bill introduced into the Queensland Parliament would make it a criminal offence to use labour-hire employees from an unlicensed provider – with fines and jail time as penalties.


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A new bill introduced into the Queensland Parliament would make it a criminal offence to use labour hire employees from an unlicensed provider – with fines and jail time as penalties.

Introducing the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 in the Queensland Parliament last week, the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Grace Grace said she was proud to introduce the bill, which, if enacted, would tackle a long list of problems with the labour hire industry.

“For far too long and far too often we have all heard the stories of vulnerable workers being exploited at the hands of unscrupulous labour hire operators: cases of wage theft and unauthorised deductions, sexual harassment, workers housed in overcrowded and substandard accommodation, a lack of proper safety equipment and training, systemic tax avoidance, sham contracting and phoenixing of companies leaving workers stranded without their entitlements.

"The tiering upon tiering of labour hire arrangements, found also by the Fair Work Ombudsman, means that workers who have been exploited sometimes do not even know who their actual employer is. These labour hire rorts are fast becoming a national disgrace,” she told the Parliament. 

She added that such cases had been reported “time and time again” and such practices had “been going on far too often and for far too long. A business-as-usual approach is not acceptable”. 

New licensing regime

The key element of the bill is the introduction of a licensing regime. 

If the bill is enacted, then labour hire providers would have to be licensed to lawfully operate in Queensland. Providing labour hire services without a licence, or merely using the labour-hire services of an unlicensed provider, would potentially attract a jail term of up to three years and a fine of 1034 penalty units ($126,044).

A a penalty unit is currently valued at $121.90 although this can be changed at any time. A company would be subject to a maximum penalty of 3000 penalty units ($365,700).

Licensees will be subject to a “fit and proper persons” test and it will be a condition of the grant and maintenance of a licence that the licensee comply with all applicable laws.

Conditions may be imposed, varied or revoked by the government for any reasons it considers appropriate. However, the government must give notice and reasons in advance.

Licensing decisions will be subject to a review and appeal process, with further appeals to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. 

Licence fees will range from $1000 to $5000 and there will be a public register of licensed providers. 

See also: Labour Hire Licensing Bill 

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