Labour-hire companies in Queensland set for shake-up

7 July 2017

Queensland’s Labor Government will introduce legislation this month to order the licensing of labour hire companies from next year, setting the precedent for other Labor states such as Victoria and South Australia.

Under the proposed legislation, all labour hire providers operating in Queensland would need to:

  1. pass a fit-and-proper person test;
  2. comply with workplace laws, including workers’ compensation, wages and Superannuation;
  3. pay a license fee;
  4. report regularly on their operations; and
  5. divulge the number of employees they have engaged, along with the number of those on work visas.

Queensland’s Industrial Relations Minister, Grace, said labour hire rorts and sham-contracting arrangements by operators were fast becoming a national disgrace.

The new laws will include “stiff penalties” where serious offenders will be faced with criminal prosecution. Minister Grace said that the Government will work to establish a compliance unit to enforce all new measures introduced by the legislation.

While similar change may seem a world away, it is worth bearing in mind that only last October the Victorian Labor Government committed to introducing a similar labour hire licensing scheme, following an inquiry headed by academic Anthony Forsyth.

Forsyth welcomed Queensland’s decision to require labour hire licensing, noting that it would apply generally across all sectors rather than the industry- specific coverage he recommended in Victoria, stating further:

“Once licensing schemes are set up in these three states, it should lead the others to take action to prevent exploitation of workers by dodgy third-party labour providers.”

Given the wide-spread support for these changes across State Labor governments, labour-hire employers are encouraged to keep a close eye on developments in Queensland, as well as any changes in business practices that are adopted to cope with these new requirements.