May 3, 2018

Standing Up For Geelong’s Most Vulnerable Workers

The Andrews Labor Government is cracking down on abuse and exploitation of Geelong’s workers and cleaning up the labour lire industry.

Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins joined labour hire workers at Geelong Trades Hall Council today to call on the Liberals and Nationals to support the Labour Hire Licensing Bill.

Unlike the Turnbull Government, the Labor Government has introduced a broad-based labour hire licensing scheme that will cover horticulture, security and aged care.

The new scheme is in response to the Victorian Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work, which uncovered widespread abuse and exploitation of workers across Victoria.

It found rogue operators were underpaying workers, not ensuring proper safety standards, abusing worker visas and undermining the minimum standards of employment.

The inquiry received submissions and took evidence across the state, including Geelong Trades Hall Council who highlighted a range of issues it has seen in the Geelong area.

Evidence was received that labour hire workers in the area were being paid cash-in-hand and were denied applicable penalty rates.

The Labor Government’s legislation is before the parliament and is similar to the Queensland and South Australian schemes.

It is also now over a year since the Black Market Taskforce created by the Federal Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer provided its Interim Report to the Federal Government.

Despite being alerted to the operation of the black economy in the labour hire industry the Federal Government has refused to act.

The Black Market Taskforce are reported to have provided their final report to the Federal Government in October 2017 and still no action has been taken.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins

“Matthew Guy and his Liberal and National colleagues voted against protecting vulnerable workers and cracking down on crime, but it’s not too late for their colleagues in the upper house to support these new laws.”

“After years of neglect and inaction from the Liberals and Nationals, we’re taking action to protect vulnerable labour hire workers.”

Quote attributable to Member for Geelong Christine Couzens

“We’re cleaning up the industry and making things fair for labour hire workers in Geelong and across Victoria.”