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Labour Hire Licensing Bill

Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading

(Continued from 16 November 2017)

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (11:03): I understand that the impetus for this bill was the ABC Four Corners program that exposed the unscrupulous practices of some labour hire companies. I have seen this program and it was very difficult to watch so many people being exploited by these companies. I understand that it is within the federal government's jurisdiction to monitor and enforce the existing laws around the exploitation of workers. Clearly, the system has failed.

The South Australian government has recognised that there is a problem here and, through this bill, is attempting to address the issues. Whilst I applaud them for taking this step, the mere fact that we have five sets of government amendments indicates that this bill was not very well thought out or consulted on before its introduction to parliament.

I support the principle of this bill to license labour hire businesses, which will lead to greater oversight and regulation of the industry. I have met with many stakeholders and understand the main point of contention is the definition of labour hire, which is primarily outlined in clause 6 of the bill. The two schools of thought are either to leave the definition broad to capture as many businesses and provide exemptions as needed, or to refine the definition so the bill is restricted on which businesses will be included.

I have considered both arguments but believe that dishonest labour hire operators are very clever in finding loopholes in legislation to continue their unscrupulous business practices. As such, I support the government's position to have a broad definition. However, I acknowledge the concerns from some stakeholders that this might be unworkable and have filed amendments for review of the act after three years. This way, any problems will be identified and can be rectified.