South-Australian based security company Agile Group (Global) Pty Ltd (Agile Group (Global)) and its chief operating officer, have been prosecuted for supplying security guards without being licensed to do so, following an investigation by Queensland's Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit (LHLCU).
The investigation commenced after a complaint made by a security guard for non-payment of superannuation, which led to the LHLCU investigating the operations of Agile Group (Global) and its related companies.
Queensland's pioneering labour hire licensing scheme was established five years ago and has become the national benchmark for the industry. The laws are designed to protect vulnerable workers by thwarting dishonest and exploitative business practices by labour hire providers.
This prosecution and the fines handed down are a strong reminder for operators to do the right thing and get a licence before providing labour hire in Queensland.
The Labour Hire Licencing Compliance Unit will always follow up on any reports of misconduct and takes all complaints and tip-offs seriously to ensure workers receive their correct entitlements.
The matter was heard in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 17 August 2023.
Chief Operating Officer pleaded guilty and was fined $50,000. The Chief Operating Officer was previously the director of Trojan Security (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd, which had its labour hire licence cancelled. Agile Group (APAC) Pty Ltd then applied for a licence but was refused. At this time Agile Group (Global) started supplying security guards in Queensland.
To get a licence, providers need to show – amongst other requirements – they are complying with all legal obligations and can pay their workers.
Despite being warned about providing labour hire services without a licence, Agile Group (Global) did not apply for a labour hire licence in Queensland and continued to provide labour to venues throughout Queensland for more than six months. Agile Group (Global) was fined $150,000.
While considering early guilty pleas, the magistrate noted the offending was deliberate and continued over a long period, with significant financial benefit to the company and complete disregard of the law.
The new laws respond to years of evidence of serious exploitation of workers in the labour hire industry, ranging from cases of wage theft to sexual harassment and systematic tax avoidance.
The prosecution outcome proves the effectiveness of the scheme and is further proof that Queensland supports tough compliance actions to deter anyone from providing or using unlicensed labour hire.
Read more about Queensland's labour hire licensing scheme.
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*The Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit is responsible for regulating and ensuring compliance with Queensland's licensing scheme. It is a Queensland Government regulatory entity under the Office of Industrial Relations.