Queensland labour hire reform has transport angle

Firms with internal labour operations should look to their exposure, Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers experts say

Queensland labour hire reform has transport angle
CGW Lawyers partner Annie Smeaton


Queensland has passed the new Labour Hire Licensing Bill that has implications for transport operators that use internal labour hire arrangements legal experts at Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers note.

They see wide enough scope in the Bill to cover companies within a larger corporate group that are incorporated to provide labour to another company within the structure.

"Despite concerns about the scope of the regime, the Bill was passed without any change to its scope," partner Annie Smeaton and special counsel Gillian Bristow write in a legal alert.

"The new regime will apply broadly to ‘providers’ of ‘labour hire services’ and to entities entering into arrangements with those providers.

"The Bill makes provision for regulations to be made to provide further clarification on the scope of the regime to ensure that it does not capture unintended classes of providers or workers.

"However, in the absence of such regulations, it appears that internal labour hire and many other arrangements not typically considered ‘labour hire’ will require licensing."

They advise transport operators utilising internal labour hire arrangements will need to ensure the entity providing the labour hire:

  • is licensed
  • complies with its reporting obligations and other obligations under the new regime
  • complies with all ‘relevant laws’ that impose obligations in relation to workers.

In an earlier examination of the Bill, the lawyers highlight that the net cast for the terms ‘provider’ and ‘labour hire services’ is very broad.

There is also great discretion given to the chief executive of the public service unit administering the Act will have to determine if both prospective labour hire service provider licensee or company executives are ‘fit and proper’ persons.

Taken into consideration here are issues surrounding person’s honesty, integrity and professionalism; financial behavior and legal record.

Inspectors will be appointed to monitor compliance and take action to deal with alleged contraventions of the legislation.

They will have broad powers to enter and examine a licensee’s workplace and documents to ensure compliance.

Compliance and penalties

The Act prohibits companies to enter into arrangements with unlicensed providers, without reasonable excuse, or to enter into an arrangement where the person knows, or ought to reasonably know, the arrangement is defined to avoid an obligation under the regime.

The maximum penalty in case of breaches is $378,450 for companies and $126,044 or up to three years’ imprisonment for individuals.

CGW’s deeper look at the implications before the Bill was passed can be found here.

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