Horticulture

Labour hire licensing bill passes

By Country News

The much debated Labour Hire Licensing Bill finally passed parliament last week, which the Victorian Government says will protect the most vulnerable workers.

Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said, as she has always done, that those doing the right thing had nothing to worry about.

‘‘These new laws will protect the most vulnerable workers in Victoria and it’s a relief that they have finally passed, in spite of extraordinary resistance from the Liberals and Nationals,’’ she said.

‘‘Any employer currently meeting all their legal obligations has nothing to fear from this change but labour hire providers operating in the shadows will no longer have anywhere to hide.’’

VFF Horticulture Group president Emma Germano, who was against the bill, said the fact the bill passed was not surprising.

‘‘We weren’t particularly surprised but slightly disappointed,’’ she said.

‘‘One of the best things that came out of it was it brought the industry together.

‘‘There was a lot of collaboration in the industry.’’

Ms Germano urged the government to implement the new bills, something that hasn’t happened with the current legislation.

‘‘Going ahead, it needs to be enforced. It will be more of a negative impact than a positive if it’s not. We just want it enforced.’’

Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh disagreed that the new laws would help workers and farmers.

‘‘Workers deserve to be treated with respect and receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, but Daniel Andrews’ disastrous bill hurts more workers than it will help, and adds red tape and unnecessary costs on our farmers and industry,’’ he said.

‘‘Labor’s successfully handed control to its union mates, while making it harder for our farmers to find workers and get fruit off the trees.’’