Media Release - Dishonest drug trafficker’s second attempt at labour hire licence thwarted

9 February 2022
Media Release - Dishonest drug trafficker’s second attempt at labour hire licence thwarted

The Labour Hire Authority (LHA) has cancelled the labour hire licence of a horticulture provider after a known drug trafficker - who was previously refused a labour hire licence in Victoria - became a director of the company.

Mr Nico Keat became the sole director labour hire provider Ung Services Pty Ltd in November 2021.

Ung Services and Mr Keat then failed to notify the LHA of the change in details for the licensee and failed to notify the LHA that a relevant person for the licensee was no longer fit and proper as required under sections 43 and 44 of the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (the Act).

Ung Services operated in the Yarra Valley area.

Before taking over Ung Services Pty Ltd, Mr Keat had applied for a labour hire licence for Amatak Labour Services Pty Ltd.

The LHA discovered in its assessment of this application that Mr Keat had been found guilty of 12 offences relating to drug trafficking, theft, failure to answer bail, and suspected proceeds of crime and stolen goods.

The LHA determined Mr Keat was not a fit and proper person, and subsequently refused Amatak Labour Services’ labour hire licence application in August 2021.

To maintain a labour hire licence, relevant persons such as company directors must pass the fit and proper person test prescribed by the Act. The LHA and the fit and proper person test prevent those who have been found guilty of certain types of criminal offences – including serious offences involving fraud, dishonesty or drug trafficking – from operating a labour hire business.

Labour Hire Commissioner, Steve Dargavel said “With this season’s harvest in full swing, the Labour Hire Authority is helping protect Victorian horticulture businesses and workers from unscrupulous labour hire providers.”

“Dishonesty and illegal phoenix activity are not welcome in Victoria’s labour hire industry and will be found out.”

“The job of the Labour Hire Authority is to make sure that Victorians can have trust and confidence in those who are responsible for the wages and safety of Victorian labour hire workers.”

Commissioner Dargavel also urges host businesses check the Register of Licensed Labour Hire Provider and sign up to Follow my provider alerts to ensure they are using licensed labour hire providers and meeting their legal obligations.

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Labour Hire Authority Media: 0448 815 436 communications@labourhireauthority.vic.gov.au