About the Labour Hire inquiry

In September 2015, the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, announced an inquiry into the labour hire industry and insecure work in Victoria, to investigate the practices of labour hire companies, insecure work, sham contracting and the abuse of visas to avoid workplace laws and undermine minimum employment standards.

The Inquiry's terms of reference also include examining the social impact of insecure work and assessing if the current legal framework meets the needs of Victorian employers and labour hire workers. This may lead to consideration of options such as a licensing system enabling accredited labour hire agencies to provide third party labour.

Professor Anthony Forsyth of the RMIT University Graduate School of Business and Law is the Chair of the Inquiry.

For a quick overview of the inquiry, refer to the fact sheet.

Background paper

On 16 October 2015, the Inquiry released a background paper calling for submissions related to the terms of reference from interested parties.


The period for making written submissions has now closed. Published submissions can be found on the submissions page.

Conduct of Inquiry

The Inquiry received 695 primary written submissions, comprising 91 from organisations and 604 from individuals. The Inquiry also heard from a total of 221 individual witnesses during 113 hearing sessions, over 17 days of hearings held from November 2015 to March 2016 across regional and metropolitan Victoria.

The Inquiry established a stakeholder contact database of over 200 interested persons and organisations including unions, employer groups, ethnic community councils and migrant organisations, labour hire agencies, backpackers, media contacts, community organisations and academics.

In addition, in the course of preparation for each regional hearing, the Inquiry Secretariat gathered information on local organisations with a potential interest in the subject matter of the Inquiry, and contacted them directly by telephone or email to invite them to attend a hearing and/or make a submission. Approximately 60 additional persons and organisations were approached in this manner, resulting in significant local representation at Inquiry hearings. 

Finally, the Inquiry email address facilitated direct email contact from a large number of additional organisations and individuals.
The Inquiry also took a proactive approach to raising awareness through media coverage, including both paid advertising and media reporting, in order to maximise participation in and engagement with the Inquiry by the Victorian community.

About the Chair

Professor Forsyth teaches labour law and legal research at RMIT University. As a consultant with the Corrs Chambers Westgarth Workplace Relations Group, he also advises corporate and public sector clients on employment and workplace relations issues. Professor Forsyth recently completed a study of the Fair Work Commission's role in enterprise bargaining; an overview of workplace privacy law for the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and contributed to a comparative study of workplace dispute resolution in ten countries for the International Labour Organization.

Page last updated: 2 February 2018