GLAA contributes to laws protecting workers in Australia
5th July 2018
Two Australian states have passed legislation to create a licensing scheme following public consultations to which the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) contributed its licensing experience.
Both Queensland and Victoria will operate licensing schemes for labour providers in an effort to protect workers’ rights and target unscrupulous employers who exploit their staff.
Providers of labour hire services in both states will be required to hold a licence and businesses wishing to use labour hire workers will have to only use licensed providers.
Licence providers themselves will be required to pass a “fit and proper person test” and will be listed on a public register.
Newly established organisations will investigate compliance and operators breaching the scheme will potentially face civil penalties and criminal prosecutions.
GLAA Director of Strategy Darryl Dixon, who has been in regular contact with colleagues in both states over much of the last year, said: “I was pleased to contribute to this debate and share the expertise we have with our counterparts in Australia. Our involvement has shown that the GLAA is not simply a UK-wide organisation. We aim to work with partners wherever they are based across the world in bringing an end to labour abuse.
“I will certainly be interested to see how the licensing schemes in Queensland and Victoria evolve as it may provide us with ideas on how we can improve ourselves and better tackle exploitation in the workplace.”
The regimes will be similar to the GLAA’s licensing scheme which was introduced following the Morecambe Bay tragedy in 2004, when 23 Chinese cockle pickers drowned through the behaviour of a criminal gangmaster.
Any employment agency, labour provider or gangmaster who provides workers for agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering or any associated processing and packaging needs a GLAA licence.
It is a criminal offence to supply workers without a licence or use an unlicensed labour provider.