The Labour Hire Authority (LHA) has removed a provider from operating in Victoria after they attempted to provide misleading information during an investigation.
LHA recently investigated a report of a horticulture provider using cash payments to exploit workers. Cash payments or ‘cash-in-hand’ work can often signal attempts to underpay workers and avoid other legal obligations.
During the investigation, LHA asked the provider to produce relevant records from a specific timeframe. The provider only provided partial responses that did not satisfy LHA’s enquiries and claimed to have not engaged any employees or contractors during the specified timeframe.
During the investigation, LHA subsequently uncovered contractual and financial documentation that directly contradicted these claims.
This evidence showed that the provider had supplied workers to a host during this period to undertake picking, peeling, thinning and packing tasks on fruit farms. These duties are typically carried out by workers in labour hire arrangements.
Records from that timeframe also showed payments of employee wages, as well as payments received from likely hosts and other providers.
LHA takes deliberate attempts to mislead investigations seriously. LHA subsequently cancelled the provider’s labour hire licence, meaning they can no longer operate in Victoria, and is also considering prosecuting the provider.
Dishonest providers face serious consequences
Labour hire providers are required to provide LHA with accurate information about relevant persons, their employees, financial records, operations and industries.
Providing false information prevents LHA from adequately monitoring the labour hire sector, enabling worker exploitation and unfairly disadvantaging legitimate providers.
Knowingly providing false or misleading information can result in serious penalties, exceeding $27,000 for individuals and $138,000 for corporations.