Queensland Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has welcomed an Australian-first conviction of a labour hire provider who supplied workers to a business without a licence to do so.
A & J Group Services Pty Ltd was today found guilty and fined $60,000 in the Stanthorpe Magistrates Court for operating without a licence under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017. Under the laws, operating without a licence carries a maximum penalty for a corporation of $391,650.
“The Palaszczuk Government introduced Australia’s first labour hire licensing laws to ensure vulnerable workers were not subject to exploitation and mistreatment, and we know the community is right behind these new laws,” Ms Grace said.
“Labour hire providers are now required to be licensed in Queensland and businesses who need to hire labour must only use licensed providers.”
“The conviction achieved in this case demonstrates that the government will not hesitate to act to ensure labour hire companies are meeting their requirements.”
Ms Grace said a community member tipped off the Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit that A & J Group Services was still supplying workers after having its licence application withdrawn for failing to provide information about its compliance record.
A & J Group Services was warned in writing that its application had been withdrawn, and that it was no longer permitted to provide labour hire services in Queensland.
However, for a period up to 15 January 2019 A & J Group Services supplied workers to a strawberry farm in Cottonvale.
In sentencing, the magistrate commented that although it was a first offence, the labour hire provider had pursued a deliberate course of conduct as it had been warned it was not permitted to provide labour hire services in Queensland. He also noted the defendant had not cooperated with the investigation, and his failure to appear in court was a continuation of that behaviour.
Since the Labour Hire Licensing Act came into force on 16 April 2018, 3166 labour hire licences have been granted. Eleven applications were refused, thirteen given conditional licences and 99 applications withdrawn for failing to provide compliance information. Seven licences have been cancelled and 129 have been suspended.