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State government seeks to repeal labour hire laws

28 November 2018

The state government has today introduced legislation aimed at removing labour hire laws introduced by the former government.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said the government had sought to review the laws after concerns were raised by a number of small businesses and industry representative groups.

"Consistent with concerns raised last year in debates, it was confirmed the laws passed last year would simultaneously apply to a range of businesses that were not intended to be captured, while failing to address the very issue it was supposed to address, namely the exploitation of workers,” Ms Chapman said.

“As it stands, these laws do little to increase protections for workers and instead create an unnecessary layer of red tape for a number of industries that shouldn’t be captured by regulations governing labour hire.

“These could include large businesses that share staff among different outlets; hospitals – particularly in country areas – that share staff to meet changing demands and provide training and greater experience; businesses who provide cleaning staff or security agents and those who enter into adhoc, short-term arrangements, such as a farmer helping another farmer pick crops for a day.”

The Attorney-General said a taskforce including Consumer and Business Services, the Small Business Commissioner, Return To Work SA, SafeWork SA and Revenue SA has undertaken a review of existing laws and determined that these are sufficient to deal with issues that have been raised in relation to the labour hire sector.

“To more effectively tackle the issue, the taskforce will now focus on protecting vulnerable workers by sharing data that would more effectively identity, and potentially prosecute, those unscrupulous operators that would seek to take advantage of workers,” Ms Chapman said.

“This will deliver a far more effective approach.”

The announcement of this taskforce comes as the Attorney-General today endorsed changes planned by the Commonwealth aimed at more effectively combatting the practice of illegal ‘phoenixing’.

Illegal phoenix activity occurs when a business has been liquidated but seeks to carry on its operations under a new company name.

Ms Chapman said the Government supports proposed measures by the Commonwealth to more effectively combat the practice, which will better protect employees and creditors.