Letter to the editor

March 15, 2018

Labour hire scheme is bad for everyone

THE Victorian Government pushed a labour hire licencing scheme through the lower house without consultation or consideration for its impact on farmers.

They naively hope the scheme will prevent the exploitation of workers, but the Victorian Farmers Federation horticulture group is gravely concerned this scheme will destroy access to labour through complex compliance regulation and still fail to provide the necessary protection to vulnerable workers.

There are already many state and federal laws and regulations that make labour exploitation illegal, the crucial missing element is uniform enforcement.

We need access to a reliable workforce with contract hire managed through a national licencing system with clear audit and enforcement processes, to remove and prosecute rogue operators.

Creating disjointed schemes in different states creates inequalities between growers and the red tape will force legitimate businesses out of the industry. We are asking readers to contact their local upper house representatives to let them know this bill must be defeated.

It will disadvantage local farmers without preventing unethical practices and put the horticulture and meat industries at risk.

VFF horticulture president Emma Germano

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