No news yet on licence fee relief for Job Agencies impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria

Last month, RCSA wrote to the Victorian Treasurer requesting the government waive the annual licensing fee for Victorian labour hire businesses.

The staffing sector supplies on-hire workers to businesses, government and community organisations across nearly every industry in Victoria. Those providing services for industries that have closed or been significantly constrained as a result of restrictions in Victoria have suffered the impact of those restrictions in line with the sectors they support.

Because of the way staffing firms are structured however, they have not had nearly the same access to government support, such as payroll tax and other concessions, as has been available to the businesses and organisations they serve.

Right now,  renewals for Victorian labour hire licences have started rolling in. The only assistance measure on offer from the Labour Hire Authority is a 30-day extension on payment of invoices, which offers little comfort to staffing firms who are have had to close operations or who will not be operating normally for the foreseeable future.

These are staffing firms who paid their 2019/2020 license application and fee costs in full, despite the Labour Hire Authority failing to commence enforcement activity under the new law from November 2019, as originally committed, until July 2020.

We note that the Victorian Government moved swiftly in April not only to waive liquor hire licensing fees for the hospitality sector, but to also offer reimbursements for payments already made for licensing. There has been no indication of any similar support for its labour hire licensing scheme.

The Victorian Government’s own modelling shows that it is set to make $214.8 million over 10 years from the labour hire licensing scheme. That is $169.7 million more than what the scheme is estimated to cost them over the same period.

Staffing firms have played a vital role not just in keeping people working throughout the impact of COVID-19, but also in filling critical care gaps in Victoria during the peak of the pandemic outbreak. 

More importantly, the work of job agencies will be essential to accelerating economic recovery in Victoria, by getting people into jobs and helping business grow. What we do is essential for growing business confidence in uncertain times by helping organisations flex up, flex down and across to meet changes in demand and to explore new lines of business with minimal risk. 

RCSA has written to the Treasurer seeking assistance for a sector that spans across a multitude of Victorian industries and has so far been unable to access most government supports. We are still awaiting a response from the Government.

We appreciate there is a lot happening in Victoria at the moment, but we believe that support for a sector that is going to help drive economic recovery should be a priority in these times. This is not a time for Governments to be banking profits collected from business doing it tough.

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