Liberal Government to cut labour hire red tape

The Marshall Liberal Government will seek to repeal labour hire licensing laws introduced by the previous Labor Government, amid concerns over the effectiveness of the scheme.

Over 700 industry groups and relevant industries have been contacted this week by the Attorney General to inform them of the intention to repeal the Labour Hire Licencing Act 2017.

The Government began reviewing the laws, after submissions were received from a number of stakeholders who believed there were issues with the scope of the scheme.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman MP said this repeal acts on the commitment the Liberal Party made in Opposition to ensure the draconian legislation did not open up the industry for union bullying and unnecessary overregulation.

“The former government when passing this Bill clearly had not listened to what the industry was saying and the meritorious arguments to make significant amendment to legislation. They have decided to completely ignore those submissions and press ahead, providing enormous power to the unions which controlled them,” said Ms Chapman.

“If we were to proceed with this scheme as it stands, there would be a high likelihood we would be regulating industries and business arrangements that extend well beyond was is reasonably required and where issues lie.

“For example, short term, adhoc arrangements between businesses like a farmer assisting another farmer with picking crops or a concreter assisting another concreter for the day would be covered – which should absolutely not be the case.

“Instead, under the former Government’s law, those industries which are typically high risk would potentially not be covered, like fruit picking - we do however appreciate there are high risk industries where unscrupulous labour hire tactics exist and this needs to be resolved.

“A taskforce has been established to assess the adequacy of existing laws, under Work Health and Safety and Return to Work, to ensure that high risk industries can be properly targeted, without disadvantaging industries using appropriate and legal labour hire.

“Should that taskforce recommend that changes be made to our existing laws, this will form part of the repeal bill to be introduced into Parliament later this year.

“We will endeavour to progress the repeal bill as a matter of priority, to give more certainty to those businesses that have been caught up in this scheme.

Consumer and Business Services (CBS) have received 119 applications for a labour hire licence since the Act passed, but have determined, due to the ambiguity of the legislation, not to grant any of the applications.

CBS will no longer accept payments for licence applications, pending the outcome of the parliamentary process.