The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (the Act) responds to evidence of serious exploitation of vulnerable labour hire workers and to inappropriate labour hire business practices, and establishes a mandatory licensing scheme for all labour hire providers operating in Queensland. The evidence included:
- underpayment, or non-payment of workers' wages, taxes and superannuation
- not providing workers' compensation cover
- not providing appropriate safety equipment or training
- housing workers in substandard accommodation
- forcing workers to use particular travel services at inflated prices
- serious mistreatment of workers, including sexual harassment
- withholding workers' passports
- avoiding responsibilities by creating a new company to continue the business of a company that has been deliberately closed to avoid paying its debts, including employee entitlements and taxation obligations (known as phoenixing)
- undercutting legitimate labour hire businesses as a consequence of not meeting legal obligations to workers and others.
The purpose of the scheme is to protect labour hire workers from exploitation and promote the integrity of the labour hire industry in Queensland.