Licensing schemes for labour hire operators are now in place in Queensland and South Australia, and are about to be introduced in Victoria. The NSW Labor party says it will introduce laws should it be voted in at the next election. The aim of these schemes, which vary by state, is to protect all workers involved in any type of labour hire transaction from exploitation.

Each of the schemes requires labour hire operators to acquire a labour hire license. In Queensland, the license is valid for one year, in South Australia for three years, and in Victoria indefinitely unless surrendered, the license holder dies, or the corporate body is dissolved. In all states, the license can be cancelled or suspended.

If you are unlicensed you cannot provide a labour hire service in these states of Australia. Additionally, an individual or corporate who makes arrangements with an unlicensed labour hire service provider risks heavy penalties, the maximums being $140,000 for individuals in South Australia and $507,424 for corporates in Victoria. Individuals in Queensland and South Australia, risk imprisonment of up to three years.

Acquiring a Licence and compliance

Obtaining a license requires certain criteria to be met – for a start, you need to demonstrate that you are a ‘fit and proper person’ – ie that you comply with all relevant laws, your business is financially viable, and that you have honesty, integrity and professionalism. From there, the requirements vary by state. Additionally, as a labour hire operator, you must report your activities and compliance with workplace laws to your state licensing authority – every six months in Queensland and annually if you’re in Victoria or South Australia.

If you are a national labour hire operator, you use labour hire services across the country, or you engage workers via a third party, you need to be aware of and compliant with the licensing schemes in each state and how the laws are applied.

The relevant administrative authorities in each state are: the Chief Executive of the Office of Industrial Relations (Queensland), Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Authority (Victoria) and the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs (South Australia).

It’s well worth familiarising yourself with the details, as they apply in each state. Visit this handy table produced by legal advisors Corrs Chambers Westgarth and to talk more about managing hired labourers, contact an Ayers Group expert today.

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