South Australia strikes the balance... Better protection for vulnerable workers and less red tape fo


The peak body for the recruitment, staffing and labour hire industry, RCSA, today welcomed the reforms to South Australia’s Labour Hire licensing scheme passed by parliament this week.

RCSA CEO Charles Cameron said the changes were critical and would improve the ability of the licensing scheme to focus limited resources on stamping out isolated instances of exploitation, while allowing staffing agencies to get on with the job of placing South Australians in work and supporting local business growth.

“South Australia will lead the way in having a labour hire licensing scheme that targets the problem, rather than suffocating job opportunities and business growth” Mr Cameron said. “We commend the efforts of this government, supported by Advance SA and SA Best, in removing cost and constraints for business where there is no evidence to support them. They have succeeded in making business simpler whilst still protecting the vulnerable”.

“Now, finally we have a best practice regulatory model and South Australia will be all the better for it”.

Mr Cameron said the proposed changes were not only great news for agency workers and the businesses they support, but also for the South Australian economy.

“A report from FTI consulting, released at the end of last month, showed that the on-hire workforce will be vital to boosting Australia’s economic recovery after the impact of COVID-19.”

“It found that with confidence low, business will look to flexible workforce solutions as part of their recovery plans. The ability to flex up, flex down and across to respond to fluctuations in demand – and pivoting in to new lines of business is more important than ever in the early stages of economic recovery.

“Evidence in the report showed that businesses who access agency workers during downturn recover more quickly, which in turn provides vital stimulus for the economy.”

“Until today, the South Australian licensing scheme created significant red tape for the very firms that supply that flexible workforce for local businesses. This change will remove unnecessary shackles for a sector that will be vital to leading economic recovery, at a time when it has never been more important.

Mr Cameron said the balance struck by the changes were welcomed by the industry.

“RCSA has argued for years in favour of best practice, sector-specific licensing. We know that broad-based licensing is ineffective and fails to effectively address industry concerns about rogue operators in sectors known to exploit workers.”

“All the original Act achieved was to put a handicap on legitimate and reputable businesses whose only crime was helping South Australians find good, quality work,” he said. “Now that has been addressed, we can get on with the important job of connecting South Australians with work.”

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