Licence scheme will help improve Victorian labour hire industry

5 May 2017
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have welcomed the announcement of a mandatory licensing scheme for the Victorian labour hire industry to help combat widespread worker exploitation.

Principal Josh Bornstein said the scheme, announced today by the Victorian Government, was an important step forward in cleaning up the labour hire industry.

“While many labour hire companies do the right thing, unfortunately worker exploitation in the industry is still far too common,” Mr Bornstein said.

“This licensing scheme will help to clean up the labour hire system so that workers can have confidence that their rights and safety are being protected.”

Mr Bornstein said the exploitation of workers – including wage theft – was rife across many industries including hospitality, retail, agriculture and construction.

“Temporary workers are vulnerable to exploitation because few know their rights, or they are too scared to speak out for fear of being deported,” he said.

With the Victorian licensing scheme announced just days after Queensland announced its own mandatory labour hire licensing system, Mr Bornstein called on the Federal Government to take action.

“All Australians are sick of these labour scandals, whether it be the threatening of 7-Eleven workers, the exploitation of foreign workers, or sham contracting in our construction sector.

“Victoria and Queensland have shown leadership by acting to protect workers in the labour hire system.

“It’s time for the Federal Government to step up and introduce substantial reforms to the Fair Work Act to eliminate wage and superannuation fraud, sham contracting and other forms of gross exploitation dogging the labour market.”

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