Too much red tape in Victoria's new Labour Hire Licensing Bill

26th March 2018

Voice of Horticulture is calling for the “voice of reason” to prevail in Victoria’s Upper House when they vote on Labour’s Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 Scheme.

The purpose of the act is to establish a licensing system to regulate the provision of labour hire services within Victoria. In short, it seeks to protect labour hire workers from being underpaid or exploited by labour hire businesses and hosts who use labour hire workers.

Ms Chapmans said that the Voice of Horticulture agreed with the view of the Victorian Farmers Federation that the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 would “…. impose huge costs on growers without actually protecting vulnerable workers in the real world”.

“The new legislation aims to fine growers who don’t use a licenced contractor but also offers no protection to the grower if the contractor is doing the wrong thing so the end result is the grower is paying more for the service but could face legal action through no fault of their own,” she said.

“How will this offer more protection to the employees of the Labour hire contractor; many of these renegade contractors fly into Australia, get an ABN, start operating overnight, don’t pay their taxes to the ATO and then eventually leave the country.”

“Therefore leaving the grower holding the final ‘parcel’, even though they have already paid the right price and at a premium to ensure they have their crop harvested.”

Ms Chapman added that: “To make things worse there will be different labour legislations in South Australia, Queensland and Victoria, so if you are an employer in multiple states you will have different legislation to comply with.”

“I ask you … how will this new legislation protect the employee’s any more than what we already have?” she said.

“All it does is add another layer of red tape for the grower to navigate and pay for. Ultimately the real losers will be rural and regional communities.”

“With horticulture production in Australia worth $10 billion and exports values in excess of $2.5 billion it is a large contributor to economy and is the fastest growing agriculture sector and thus largest employer; we therefore need to get this labour bill right!”

The Voice of Horticulture is a member based organisation that represents horticultural growers and business across fruit, nuts, mushrooms, onions, turf, nursery plants and cut flowers.

Media contacts

Tania Chapman
Chair, Voice of Horticulture
0428 291 717
chair@voiceofhorticulture.org.au 

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