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- The Australian Government has committed to establishing national labour hire regulation to help protect labour hire workers from exploitation, by improving compliance with relevant laws. National labour hire regulation would also reduce red tape for businesses that are currently required to comply with multiple state and territory labour hire licensing schemes.
- This measure would implement part of the Government’s election commitment, in its Plan to Build a Stronger Pacific Family, by implementing a key recommendation of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce (recommendation 14). This measure would also address a number of other reports and public inquiries at the national and state level recommending greater labour hire regulation.
- Labour hire providers (LHPs) have the same obligations under Australian law as any other business. While many LHPs do the right thing and operate lawfully, numerous reports have shown that some LHPs are breaching their employer obligations and denying workers their lawful entitlements. The Migrant Workers’ Taskforce, for example, cited instances of wage underpayment and non-payment of superannuation, not remitting PAYG tax and workers’ compensation premiums, sham contracting, unlawful deductions, substandard and overpriced accommodation, and illegal phoenixing.
- National labour hire regulation will help to deter non-compliance, protect workers from exploitation, and promote accountability and transparency in the labour hire sector and a level playing field for businesses operating lawfully. A single national scheme would also reduce red tape for LHPs that are currently required to understand and comply with multiple state and territory labour hire licensing schemes, and pay multiple licence fees.
The objectives of national labour hire regulation would be to:
- provide a level playing field for business and promote accountability and transparency
- protect labour hire workers from exploitation by providers and in supply chains
- promote greater compliance with relevant laws and drive behavioural change, and
- reduce red tape and confusion for LHPs operating across multiple jurisdictions.
Views are sought on a number of key policy parameters, including:
- who would need a licence under the scheme
- licensing requirements
- duration of licence
- obligations for LHPs and hosts
- regulatory arrangements, and
- compliance and enforcement tools.