Labor has said that it will move to regulated labour hire operators if it wins office in the coming election.
Announcing the move on Thursday 24 June, Labor Shadow Minister Brendan O’Connor said a Labor government would introduce a compulsory national licensing system for labour hire companies and impose penalties of up to $1.1 million for licence breaches.
The scheme would apply to both domestically-based and overseas companies supplying labour in Australia.
Labor hire, along with other forms of insecure employment has grown enormously in Australia over the last decade and stories of exploitation of labour hire employees have become commonplace, especially in relation to overseas workers coming to Australia on temporary migration (457) and working holiday (417) visas.
The National Unions of Workers (NUW), one of the many Australian Unions consistently dealing with dodgy operators, says workers are being exploited by being paid well below the minimum wage, threatened with their jobs if they speak up or join a union, sexually assaulted or forced to live in overcrowded and overpriced accommodation.
According to O’Connor, the Turnbull Government has done nothing to stop wrongdoing by such operators, which is "tarnishing employers that do the right thing" and undercutting local wages and conditions.