The Weatherill Government’s proposal for licensing and regulating the labour hire industry in South Australia has been opposed by the State Liberals in Parliament this week.

If passed, the legislation would require people who provide labour hire services to be licensed and face a ‘fit and proper person test’, amongst other draconian measures.

In 2015, ABC’s Four Corners program reported on alleged exploitation and underpayment of migrant workers, particularly on farms and in the food processing industry, and subsequently there was an inquiry into the labour hire industry undertaken by the Parliament’s Economic and Finance Committee.

“True to form, the Weatherill Labor Government has refused to listen to the concerns of businesses and stakeholders when it comes to this Bill and the impacts it would have on labour hire across various industries in the Riverland, Mallee and South Australia,” Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said.

“The State Liberals take allegations of exploitation and underpayment of migrant workers very seriously, and that’s why we participated in the parliamentary inquiry into the labour hire industry undertaken by the Economic and Finance Committee.

“Reports of alleged exploitation and underpayment of migrant workers, particularly in the farming sector and food processing industry, are concerning and should be addressed by enforcing the current laws around compliance in the labour hire industry.

“However, the Government’s proposal, which will basically result in more paperwork and bureaucratic back and forth, could perversely drive labour hire companies over the border.

“This Bill requires genuine consultation with stakeholders to ensure that the broad application doesn’t capture groups that it shouldn’t.

“A Marshall Liberal Government will always deliver in the best interests of all South Australian workers and businesses alike.

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