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If your business provides labour of any kind whether temporary or casual, to employers in, currently South Australia, Queensland or Victoria, then the following information is important reading for you.

Following complaints about underpaid, harassed and mistreated workers, predominantly migrant workers on farms and in the food processing industries, which was brought to the general public’s attention by an ABC Four Corners Program in 2017, new Labour Hire legislation has now been introduced in three states, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland. This means that if your business (based anywhere in Australia or overseas) provides labour hire staff in those states, you must be licensed to do so.


Per the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017, the new laws became effective on 16 April 2018. This means an employer in Queensland cannot use workers from a labour hire company which is not licensed to provide that labour.

Existing labour hire companies have 60 days to apply for a licence and must prove they comply with the legislation although they can continue trading until the 60-day window expires.

Any companies breaking the new laws face fines, jail time and having their licence cancelled.

Persons who engage Labour Hire Providers can only engage licensed providers.

Labour Hire Licensees must satisfy a “fit and proper person test” to establish –

– that they are capable of providing labour hire services in compliance with all relevant laws;

– the labour hire business must be financially viable;

– the labour hire business must provide half yearly reports on labour hire and associated activities, including accommodation.

The Labour Hire Licensing Regulation 2018 provides information about application and reporting requirements.


The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 took effect on 1 March 2018.

From 1 September 2018, all labour hire providers must be licensed. 

It will be an offence for anyone to use an unlicensed provider.

All providers who have been granted a licence will appear on a Register of Licence Holders.

Applications for a Labour Hire Licence must be lodged by 1 August 2018 to ensure sufficient time for processing.

Companies operating in South Australia must be licensed and will face tough penalties if they flout the law, including jail time.


The Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 was passed on 15 February 2018. The Victorian scheme is broadly similar to South Australia and Queensland.

Labour hire operators will have to –

– pay a licence fee

– pass a “fit and proper person test”

– demonstrate compliance with workplace, labour hire industry and migration laws and minimum accommodation standards

– be listed on a public register.

A new Labour Hire Licensing Authority will be the compliance unit in Victoria.


No changes are proposed for now in NSW, although if elected, the NSW Labor Party has indicated it will also introduce a similar scheme.

ACT, NT, Tasmania and WA

ACT, NT, Tasmania and WA have yet to announce if they will introduce specific labor hire legislation.

Need help with HR and compliance?

Contact Better HR – Our affordable and easy to use HR system provides everything you need to achieve best-practice HR management and full-compliance with Australian employment laws.

Watch our explainer video to learn more about Better HR and how we help thousands of users to manage HR and compliance with confidence.

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