26 September 2023

Labour hire probe finds not all work

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The Labour Hire Authority (LHA) has cracked down on dodgy operators with strict reviews of licence applications and a significant take up in its Labour Hire Licensing Scheme, according to the Authority’s annual report.

In the report, Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner, Steve Dargavel said that to prevent the exploitation of labour hire workers, the LHA assessed and reviewed 2,435 labour hire licences and applications in 2020-21.

“This resulted in nine application refusals, one licence suspension, 95 licence cancellations and 95 licence variations,” Commissioner Dargavel said.

“A further 48 more ‘notices of intention to refuse’ were issued in June as our licensing and compliance officers continue to make enquiries into non-compliance with workplace laws, such as payments below award wages; unlawful deductions from wages; breaches of occupational health and safety laws; and not providing workers’ compensation,” he said.

“The LHA has made great progress on cleaning up the labour hire industry and clearing out the rogue operators, but we have more work to do and a significant number of investigations are underway.”

Commissioner Dargavel issued a special thanks to the LHA’s Government partners, Regulators and law enforcement Agencies.

“In particular, I must thank WorkSafe Victoria, the Phoenix Taskforce, Labour Hire Licensing Queensland and Australian Border Force for their incredible collaboration and information sharing to help us prevent exploitation in the labour hire industry,” he said.

Minister for Industrial Relations, Tim Pallas championed the Authority’s work to prevent the exploitation of labour hire workers, saying the LHA conducted 2,431 education and compliance inspections across the State last financial year.

“Officers made thousands of enquiries into non-compliance with workplace laws, such as payments below award wages, unlawful deductions from wages and breaches of occupational health and safety laws,” Mr Pallas said.

“The work of the Authority has prevented hundreds of rogue operators from breaking the rules or entering the industry altogether.”

He said the LHA, with assistance from the Australian Taxation Office, was also working to dismantle labour hire providers involved in illegal phoenix activities which could leave workers and businesses with outstanding payments and lost entitlements.

The Authority’s 79-page Annual Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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