Horticulture

VFF: bill unnecessary

By Country News

The proposed Labour Hire Licensing Bill will do little to improve conditions for workers in the horticultural industry, according to the VFF.

The VFF’s Horticulture Group president Emma Germano said new laws were not needed to protect workers, with the group urging the Victorian Government to enforce existing legislation instead.

‘‘Victoria does not need the Labour Hire Licensing Bill to protect vulnerable workers,’’ she said.

‘‘The government could improve worker conditions by enforcing existing legislation.

‘‘Fair Work Australia and many other regulators are already in place to act against unscrupulous employers.’’

The VFF is concerned that the proposed legislation will only drive worker exploitation underground.

‘‘Setting up a new legislative system, with associated licensing and enforcement costs to manage issues that are already covered by extensive state and federal laws, is expensive and unnecessary,’’ she said.

‘‘We are concerned that it will be farmers, not labour hire contract firms, that will be targeted by government enforcement operations.’’