State by state: Licensing update from RCSA
State by State update on Licensing
As many know, there are a number of States introducing or exploring broad-based licensing regimes for labour-hire and on-hire services in response to claims of worker exploitation by a small number of unethical operators in the sector.
If and when changes occur, they will impact all operators in the sector. Under the proposals, Labour-hire and on-hire service operators will be required to subscribe to a licensing process as a condition of operating in the State or Territory in which the scheme applies.
RCSA continues to engage with governments and inquiry processes to articulate the interests and concerns of the sector and to work to get the best possible outcome for labour-hire and on-hire service providers.
Queensland has announced its new licensing regime will commence on 16 April next year. Almost immediately after the announcement, the government went into caretaker mode in advance of the Queensland poll on 25 November. Sadly, RCSA is unable to provide any real guidance on processes, fees or exemptions until the regulations are circulated. We will form a working group to review and comment on the regulation consultation paper when it is provided to us.
RCSA will re-engage with the government on development of regulations to support the legislation at the conclusion of the caretaker period.
Further information on the Act, including FAQs, is available at: https://www.treasury.qld.gov.au/fair-and-safe-work/industrial-relations/regualion-labour-hire-industry/
RCSA continues to be an active participant in the ACT government’s inquiry into insecure work. Last month Charles Cameron presented to the public hearing process in support of the submission RCSA lodged with the inquiry earlier this year.
Last week, the Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs advised it had extended the reporting date for the inquiry into insecure work to February next year to allow it additional time to thoroughly review the evidence received in the October hearings.
We will update you on the outcomes of the inquiry when the report is available in February.
RCSA continues to work closely with the Victorian Government following its announcement this year that it will set up a licensing scheme and develop a code of conduct to regulate labour hire operators.
While legislation has not yet passed the parliament, recent amendments propose a start date for the SA licensing regime of 1 March 2018.
RCSA’s advocacy activity, in partnership with other industry bodies in South Australia, has contributed to winning a number of important amendments for the sector. Nonetheless, RCSA remains concerned about the scope of the legislation and will continue to advocate for further change to support the sector.
Many of the positive changes for the sector reflect points and concerns raised by RCSA in its submission and representations and include:
Registered Group Training Organisations will now be exempt from the Act
The period for objection to the granting of a licence reduced to 14 days
Removal of Commissioner discretion – Commissioner must now grant a license if criteria are satisfied. This was a point which featured in RCSA’s submission.
Inspectors much be public service employees – another point which was raised in both RCSA and Business S.A’s submissions
A decision imposing conditions on the grant of a license will now be subject to appeal.
Vicarious liability provisions have now been deleted.
Other changes as a result of last week’s amendments include:
Persons nominated as a ‘responsible person’ for the corporate licence holder must also now pass a fit and proper person test
Prohibition on the sale or transfer of a license
Concept of responsibility for day-to-day management is no longer limited to ‘business hours’ – reflecting awareness of contemporary business practise
If the responsible person for the license holder is absent for more than 30 days, a substitute must be appointed – has implications for leave arrangements.
Advertisements must include license numbers
Following the successful conclusion of the inaugural Staff Sure pilot, we have continued to expand and explore the program through a phase of sector specific testing and rollout.
We expect the program to become broadly available to members in the very near future and will update you on details for public launch activity as soon as it is available.
In the meantime, we would like to thank and applaud those members who have participated in the program to date and especially to congratulate those that have become Staff Sure certified in the process;