The Australian state of Victoria will introduce its first-ever licensing scheme to combat exploitation of seasonal workers.
From 29 April, labour hire service providers will be required to hold a license under the new scheme. Industrial relations minister, Tim Pallas said licensing will be implemented 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 an opportunity to cut their costs. This will level the playing field up for those more responsible operators,” Pallas said.
The scheme was put in place following the independent Victorian labour hire industry and insecure work inquiry, which brought to light the widespread abuse and exploitation of workers across the state.
Farms and orchards who utilise seasonal labour will now be required to utilise licensed services only, with unlicensed providers facing fines of up to A$500,000, The Age reported.
Labour providers will be required to pass a “fit and proper person test”, show compliance with the law, meet minimum accommodation standards and report on annual activities.
The labour hire industry in Victoria amounts to some A$4.5bn annually, including the horticulture, meat and cleaning sectors.