Inquiry factsheet

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What are the details of the Inquiry?

The Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, has announced an inquiry into the labour hire industry and insecure work in Victoria, which will 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. Professor Anthony Forsyth, of RMIT University Graduate School of Business and Law, will chair the Inquiry. 

The Inquiry is due to deliver its final report by 31 July 2016.

The Inquiry will undertake extensive consultation, including public hearings and consultations with interested persons and organisations. 

Submissions can be made confidentially, and arrangements can be made for closed hearings if required.

Why has the Inquiry been established?

The Victorian Government gave an election commitment to conduct an inquiry into labour hire, sham contracting arrangements and the impact of insecure work.

What will the Inquiry examine?

The main focus of the Inquiry is labour hire. Recent data indicates there are now an estimated 5,798 temporary staff services enterprises across Australia, with around a quarter of these located in Victoria1. Labour hire is a legitimate way of engaging workers. However, some labour hire operators engage in exploitative behaviour, and use labour hire arrangements to avoid legal obligations such as workplace laws or tax. This is unfair to labour hire workers and to reputable labour hire companies who do the right thing. 

The Inquiry will also examine the broader issue of insecure work, and the exploitation of vulnerable workers such as migrant workers and working visa holders. It will examine business practices such as sham contracting and phoenix arrangements which may contribute to insecure work. It will look at how these issues affect workers, their families, the economy and the community at large.

What will the Inquiry achieve?

The Inquiry will provide the Victorian Government with a clearer picture of how labour hire, insecure work and exploitative business practices are impacting on Victorians. 

The Inquiry will examine how other states and territories, and comparable overseas countries, have addressed these problems, for example through labour hire licencing systems. There are limits on the Victorian Government's regulatory powers in this area, and any recommendations will take that into account. Based on the evidence presented, the Inquiry will make recommendations to the Victorian Government about measures to address the issues examined, as well as examining whether a national approach is warranted.

How do I find out more?

Information about the Inquiry, including the terms of reference, background paper, calls for submissions, and details of public hearings will be regularly updated on this website.

Inquiries can be emailed to the labour hire inquiry team.

1. IBISWorld Industry Report N7212, July 2015.

Page last updated: 16 December 2016