Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 Follows Similar Moves In QLD and SA

Thursday 15 February 2018 @ 8.55 a.m. | Industrial Law | Trade & Commerce

On Thursday (8 February 2018) the Labor Hire Licensing Bill 2017 (Vic) (the Bill) passed the Victorian Legislation Assembly and was introduced into the Victorian Legislative Council, bringing Victoria closer to the enactment of  labour hire laws similar to those which have already been enacted in Queensland and South Australia. The Bill in broad terms:

  • provides for the regulation and licensing of the providers of labour hire services,
  • establishes the Labour Hire Licensing Authority and
  • creates the office of Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner.


The new scheme was a response to the Victorian inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work which uncovered widespread abuse and exploitation of workers across Victoria. The inquiry was announced in September 2015 by the Victorian Minister for Industrial Relations, Ms Natalie Hutchins MP, and was tasked to:

"...investigate the practices of rogue labour hire companies, insecure work, sham contracting and the abuse of visas to avoid workplace laws and undermine minimum employment standards".

The Inquiry was chaired by Professor Anthony Forsyth of the RMIT University Graduate School of Business and Law.

The initial inquiry came about as a reaction to various media reports in the area of "labour hire" pointing out the wide extent of the problems in this area, where:

". . . hundreds of thousands of workers across the economy, in food courts, cafes, factories, building sites, farms, hairdressers and retail – [are] being exploited on low wages and believing they have no power to ask for their rights."

Monash University studies had shown that: ". . . 80 percent of foreign language advertisements [were] offering  wages below legal rates. Many of them are openly advertised as 'black jobs'".

Key Provisions of Legislation

In response to the exploitation discovered by the report, the Labor Government introduced the Bill which establishes a universal licensing scheme to protect labour hire workers across all sectors to be run by an independent Labour Hire Licensing Authority.

Under the new scheme proposed by the Bill:

  • providers of labour hire services will be required to hold a licence, and those hosting workers will be required to only use licensed providers
  • to obtain a licence, providers will be required to pass “a fit and proper person test” and show compliance with workplace laws, labour hire laws, and minimum accommodation standards
  • licensed providers will be listed on a publicly accessible register
  • an inspectorate within the Authority will monitor and investigate compliance with the scheme
  • rogue operators that do not comply or attempt to flout the scheme will be liable for hefty civil and criminal penalties.

The Victorian Government, according to the Premier, has set aside funding of $8.5 million to establish the Authority and the scheme in 2018 when the Bill is enacted.

Comments by the Government

The Victorian Premier has noted that:

“These laws will make things fair for labour hire workers in Victoria. . . . The Inquiry exposed a culture of exploitation in an industry that has been left unregulated for far too long – we’re changing that, to crack down on dodgy operators and protect Victorian workers.”

The Acting Minister for Industrial Relations has pointed out that “. . . Under the new scheme, businesses will need to be licenced and treat their workers fairly or face hefty penalties.”

Scheme Comparable to Queensland and South Australia

The scheme is broadly similar to labour hire licensing schemes already enacted in South Australia and Queensland, and according to the Victorian Premier will provide further impetus for the implementation of a national scheme.

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.


Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 and explanatory material as reported in the TimeBase LawOne Service.

New Laws to Make Things Fair for Local Labour Hire Workers (Premiers Media Release)

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