Dodgy labour hire providers will be ousted from Victoria as the state's first ever licensing scheme kicks off in April.
Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas on Thursday said the new scheme will take effect from April 29 and require labour hire service providers to be licensed, in a bid to protect workers from exploitation and crack down on rogue operators.
“It will weed out those who’ve seen exploitation of workers as a opportunity to cut their costs. This will level the playing field up for those more responsible operators,” Mr Pallas said.
Under the scheme, labour hire service providers must be licensed and hosts are only allowed to use licensed providers.
Host employers that use unlicensed providers will attract fines of up to $500,000.
Providers will need to pass a “fit and proper person test”, show compliance with laws, minimum accommodation standards and report annually on their activities.
“The objective of this act is to ensure that the mistreatment of workers is cleaned up in this state,” Labour Hire Authority Commissioner Steve Dargavel told reporters.
National Union of Workers assistant Victorian secretary Susie Allison said there had not been sufficient oversight of companies to protect basic workers’ rights until now.
Victoria’s labour hire industry turns over about $4.5 billion annually and covers workers in the horticulture, meat and cleaning sectors.
The scheme is in response to the independent Victorian labour hire industry and insecure work inquiry, which uncovered widespread abuse and exploitation of workers in Victoria.