South Australia is the latest state to pass legislation in relation to labour hire licensing, with legislation passing both Houses of Parliament on 29 November 2017. The legislation will come into operation on 1 March 2018, with a transition period of six months to allow labour hire providers to undertake the necessary applications.
The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (SA) is similar to the Queensland legislation which was passed in September 2017, and both have broad application.
Following the trend in the Labor-led states is the Victorian Government, which introduced the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 in its lower house of Parliament on 13 December 2017.
The Victorian legislation was introduced following the tabling of the final report of the Victorian Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work. The extensive report was undertaken independently of both the Andrews Government and the Victorian Parliament.
Critically, the inquiry explicitly declined to recommend universal licensing of the entire labour hire industry in Victoria. Rather, it recommended a sector specific approach, directly targeted at those industries in which the inquiry received particular evidence of illegality, poor dealing, underpayment and associated non-compliance with employment laws. Despite this, the Andrews Government has opted to introduce legislation which provides for a universal licensing scheme.
In response to a Consultation Paper concerning the scope of the Victorian licensing scheme, AMMA urged the government to ensure that any such scheme be appropriately limited so as not to act as an increased regulatory burden for already compliant businesses and risk impacting opportunities for jobs, investment and growth. This includes by ensuring that the scheme does not capture arrangements for supply of workers to a third party which would not be commonly understood as labour hire arrangements.
In Queensland, the newly re-elected Palaszczuk Government has announced that it will shortly be commencing consultation in relation to the regulations relating to its labour hire licensing scheme, following a lull in activity during the caretaker period in the lead up to the election.
As previously reported, AMMA has made multiple representations to the Queensland Government highlighting its concern with the breadth (and consequential uncertainty) about who is covered by the regime. In the upcoming consultation concerning the regulations, AMMA will be continuing its efforts to ensure that regulation in this space does not encroach into legitimate contracting and other commercial arrangements not traditionally thought of as labour hire.
AMMA will be in touch with our interested members when the consultation details are released. If you wish to be added to the distribution list, email AMMA Policy Advisor, Ingrid Fraser, at [email protected].