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    Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    The Honourable Grace Grace

    Bundaberg roundtable discusses labour hire issues

    Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
    The Honourable Grace Grace

    Wednesday, September 13, 2017

    Bundaberg roundtable discusses labour hire issues

    Key stakeholders gathered in Bundaberg today for a roundtable discussion on workforce issues facing the Wide Bay region. 

    With Queensland recently becoming the first state to pass laws to regulate the labour hire industry, Bundaberg was the ideal venue to hold the roundtable. 

    Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the meeting provided information on what the new labour hire scheme means for local growers, producers, businesses and workers, as well as a broader discussion of the current labour and employment challenges for the region. 

    “Queensland is leading the way by protecting workers from exploitation by unscrupulous labour hire operators, and while we were here, we wanted to hear from the locals,” Ms Grace said. 

    “Labour hire and work provided by backpackers and other itinerant workers in this region are considered by many growers as integral to the horticulture industry. 

    “But problems that plague labour hire are not limited to horticulture alone – they are not sector-specific. 

    “That’s why we want everyone to have their say before our labour hire scheme comes into force next year. 

    “In Bundaberg, legitimate businesses have had to deal with the issues caused by dodgy operators exploiting an essential labour force for years.” 

    Recently passed in in Parliament, the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 is about keeping the rogue operators out of the industry and preventing exploitation and mistreatment of workers before it happens. 

    “Under our scheme - the first of its kind in Australia - we aim to protect workers and restore a level playing field so that ethical operators and users of labour hire employment can compete fairly. 

    “Legitimate providers will be protected and benefit – they won’t be undercut or have their reputations damaged by those who don’t do the right thing,” Ms Grace said. 

    “By using only licensed operators, businesses can help rub out the shonks and clean up the industry. And we’ll be doing our bit too. The scheme will be backed up by stiff penalties and a dedicated compliance unit to monitor operators and throw the book where necessary. 

    “Before the scheme kicks off in 2018, we will have more of these roundtable and information sessions across the state with key stakeholders.” 

    Media contact: Martin Philip 0427 919 548