Weeding out dodgy operators

September 20, 2017

Crackdown...Labour hire companies, frequently used in fruit harvesting operations, will come under closer scrutiny in Victoria.

A new watchdog will head the toughest labour hire scheme in Australia under a crackdown on dodgy operators by the Victorian Government.

The laws, to be put to parliament by the end of the year, are in response to an investigation that uncovered widespread abuse and exploitation of workers across the state.

‘‘For far too long, dodgy operators in the labour hire sector have underpaid workers, exploited workers, using some of the worst practices to enhance their profits, but in essence peddle misery,’’ Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Under the new regime, only a ‘fit and proper person’ shown to comply with workplace, labour and migration laws will be licensed, providers will be listed on a public register, employers will only be allowed to use a licensed provider, and a commissioner will oversee and enforce it all.

Rogue operators will face civil and criminal penalties.

Industrial Relations Minister Natalie Hutchins said the system would stop fruit and vegetable growers from undercutting competitors by ripping off workers.

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