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Australian-first mandatory labour hire laws helping Queensland workers

Queensland's landmark Labour Hire Licensing Scheme, established after extensive industry consultation, sets minimum standards for labour hire providers, who now need to show they are complying with all legal obligations and can pay their workers. All providers in the state must be licensed, including those operators based interstate or overseas who supply workers in Queensland.

In the first year since the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 commenced, the Office of Industrial Relations received 4,125 applications for a labour hire licence and granted 3,857 licences. Ten applications were refused, 9 given conditional licences, and 99 applications withdrawn for failing to provide compliance information.

Queensland is leading the way in the fight to protect some of our most vulnerable workers from exploitation and mistreatment—weeding out rogue operators from a previously unregulated industry.

In the years leading up to the scheme's launch, there were reported cases of workers being underpaid or unpaid, sexually harassed, forced to work long hours, housed in crowded, substandard accommodation, or exposed to safety risks. The introduction of the Act, backed by a strong Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit, is levelling the playing field for all labour hire providers that are doing the right thing by their workers, by stamping out unethical operators.

Two campaigns with WorkCover Queensland led to a total of $456,231 being paid out in workers' compensation, and there have been joint operations with the Australian Taxation Office, local councils, Australian Border Force and Home Affairs.

The scheme has enhanced Queensland's reputation as a great place to work, including for backpackers and migrant workers who follow the seasonal harvest trail. Workers now know that unscrupulous providers face jail time, a hefty fine or licence cancellation in Queensland.

For more information, visit Queensland's Labour Hire Licensing Scheme.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
Last updated
09 September 2020