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Australia: Victoria calls for national labour hire licensing scheme

Victoria has urged the Federal Government of Australia to develop a national scheme to license labour hire operators, in consultation with the States, in a submission to the Commonwealth Black Economy Taskforce.

The submission rejects the Commonwealth's preference for an voluntary, industry-based accreditation scheme for the labour hire industry as a way of regulating the black economy and the exploitation of workers.

The Victorian Government's submission asserts that the problem of labour hire providers operating in the black economy is best addressed through a licensing scheme.

The submission emphasises that licensing labour hire providers, and requiring those who use them to engage only licensed providers, would dramatically reduce the demand for labour hire providers operating in the black economy.

Those providers would be forced to either transition into the regulated economy or leave the industry.

The submission states that a purely industry-based approach would not create the proper incentives to persuade rogue labour hire operators in the black economy to move into the regulated economy.

It would also not provide any disincentive for rogue operators to continue operating in the black economy.

The submission maintains that an appropriate industry-based accreditation scheme could sit beside a legislative licensing scheme and complement licensing or auditing requirements.

The Victorian Government's submission to the Taskforce follows the report of the Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work in Victoria which found significant evidence of black economy activity in the labour hire industry in Victoria.

The government has accepted the majority of the report's 35 recommendations and is moving towards establishing a licensing scheme to regulate labour hire operators, a voluntary code of conduct for the labour hire industry and the use of government procurement to promote secure work practices and ethical employment.

You can download the submission from the Inquiry into the labour hire industry website.

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