Businesses to toe labour line
A NEW era for Queensland's new labour hire laws will begin on Monday.
After the state's new labour hire licencing system was introduced on Monday, April 16, companies were given a 60-day grace period to apply for a licence, finalising on Friday, June 15.
Companies will still be able to operate while the licencing process is underway.
The new laws will ensure labour hire companies, instead of farmers, are responsible for ensuring the workers have correct visas, payment and accommodation conditions.
Lockyer Valley Growers president Michael Sippel said the change was long overdue.
"If a farmer has 300 labour hire workers working, how is he meant to check the visas and conditions of them," he said.
"If you were renovating your house and the plumber you hired had an apprentice, it isn't up to the householder to check that apprentice is being paid correctly. But that's what was happening with farmers using labour hire companies.
Mr Sippel said the region's major labour hire companies had already signed up and less reputable operators were avoiding licences.
When the laws came into effect, Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace warned labour hire companies that operated unlicensed faced fines or jail time.
"You need a license to sell a house and you need one to sell a car, so it only makes sense that you would need a license to hire out labour," she said.
"To obtain a licence, a labour hire provider must demonstrate that they are fit and proper to provide these services, can comply with relevant state and Commonwealth laws and that their business is financially viable.
Labour hire industry body the Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association did not respond to requests for comment. But the RCSA has previously said the laws would not stop dodgy operators who flew under the radar.