Times are changing for Queensland labour suppliers

The first penalty has been imposed on a labour supplier for operating without a licence in Queensland as required under the Queensland Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017.

A labour hire provider was fined $60,000 in the Stanthorpe Magistrates Court, for supplying workers without a labour-hire licence. It is Australia’s first such conviction and the first case decided under Queensland Labour Hire Licencing Act 2017. The company in question did not appear at the hearing.

The Minister for Industrial Relations announced that the business- A & J Group Services Pty Ltd- was found guilty of supplying labour-hire employees without a licence and that business was fined $60,000 for operating without a licence. The maximum for a corporation is $391,650.

Queensland was the first state to introduce labour hire licensing laws. Labour hire providers must be licensed in Queensland and businesses who use hired labour must only use licensed providers.

The prosecution satisfied the Court that A & J Group Services continued to supply workers after it had its licence application dismissed. The licence application was dismissed because the company failed to provide information about its compliance record. The Government’s compliance unit wrote to the company, stating that its application had been dismissed, and that it was no longer permitted to provide labour hire services in Queensland. Despite this, the company supplied workers to a strawberry farm in Cottonvale.

In sentencing, the Magistrate noted that, while it was a first offence, the labour supplier had pursued a deliberate course of conduct after it had been warned. He also noted the company failed to cooperate with the investigation and that its non-appearance in court was a continuation of that conduct.

Implications of the Act

Since the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 came into effect (April 2017):

  • 3,166 labour hire licences have been granted;
  • 11 applications have been refused;
  • 13 conditional licences have been issued;
  • 99 applications were dismissed or failing to provide compliance information;
  • 7 licences have been cancelled; and
  • 129 licences have been suspended.

Victoria has introduced a labour hire licencing scheme (you can read more about this here) and South Australia proposes to scrap its scheme introduced by the former Labor administration. The Federal Government has said that it will introduce a mandatory labour hire registration scheme focused on four “high-risk sectors” – horticulture, meat processing, cleaning and security.

Disclaimer
This article is general commentary on a topical issue and does not constitute legal advice. If you are concerned about any topics covered in this article, we recommend that you seek legal advice.

Queries

For further information please contact the author Robert King, Partner– Employment, Workplace Relations & Safety or Martin Alden, Partner-Employment, Workplace Relations & Safety

The Author

Robert King

PARTNER, BRISBANE