A worker to do work
Prison time, big fines and major disruption possible from proposed labour hire regulations
Wednesday 28 June 2017
Mining employers are warning that new licensing requirements for labour hire companies will cost a fortune, stop people moving on secondment, and allow anyone to enter a mine site at any time.
The Queensland Government is likely to be the first, but not the last State Government in Australia to increase regulation of labour-hire. The move follows some high-profile media reports exposing rorts and underpayment of labour-hire workers.
While none of the stories have involved mining companies, there has been a growing discontent across the Bowen Basin during the downturn as labour-hire went from being a small ad hoc worker solution to becoming the dominant one.
The result has been that more miners than ever are on casual contracts with little job security.
Under the new laws being proposed by the Palaszczuk Government, Labour Hire firms will have 28 days to register for a labour-hire licence once the legislation passes parliament.
Then if an organisation is found to be using unlicensed labour-hire directors will face fines of $125,000 or three years in jail.
Licensed inspectors will also have the right to enter a workplace anytime there is work being carried out, and seize documents and property they believe is relevant to their enquiries.
In submissions to the committee working on the regulation, BHP expressed concerns that the bill definitions would impact other mobile employees who are being used on secondment or moved between various parts of the same business.
It also warned that the mine access rules could be abused by investigating officers.
“If left unchallenged the bill could result in the regulation of employment relationships more generally, instead of effectively addressing the stated concerns within the labour hire industry,” they argued.