Cameron Workforce, Chamroeun (Cameron) Morm, and company director Linna Chiem have undertaken to refrain from providing unlicensed labour hire services, following action by the Labour Hire Authority (LHA) in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
LHA alleges the company provided unlicensed labour hire services, and underpaid and provided substandard accommodation to workers picking grapes and chestnuts in the Benalla region.
The undertaking follows a freezing order issued by the Court in August, preventing Cameron Workforce and director Chiem from dealing with or disposing of assets including two residential properties.
“We’re willing to use every tool at our disposal to make the labour hire industry fair for workers and legitimate businesses,” said Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner, Steve Dargavel.
“As well as significant fines, you may face a range of other action if you do the wrong thing by your workers,” said Commissioner Dargavel.
Maximum penalties of over $600,000 for a company and $150,000 for an individual apply for providing unlicensed labour hire services, under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic). The same maximum penalties apply for companies and individuals who enter into arrangements with an unlicensed provider.
There have been no final orders made by the Supreme Court against any of the defendants, or any findings that they have engaged in any contraventions of the law, at this time. LHA will continue to monitor the business to ensure it complies with the undertaking.
Compliance and enforcement in horticulture
The decision is the latest outcome in a series of recent LHA prosecutions of labour hire companies operating in the Victorian horticulture industry, including:
- a case filed in May alleging A L Star Express Pty Ltd was unlicensed when it provided workers to pick fruit and vegetables
- a case filed in July alleging Honey Bunny Global Pty Ltd engaged unlicensed providers to source workers for farms in the Cobram area
- a case filed in July for multiple alleged breaches of obligations around company directors by Monorom Labours Power Pty Ltd, which operated in the Yarra Valley and Koo Wee Rup
- the successful prosecution in December 2022 of Ung Services Pty Ltd, which supplied workers to the Yarra Valley, for failing to inform LHA about a new director with criminal convictions.
As well as these enforcement actions, LHA has recently undertaken a range of investigations of horticulture providers, resulting in refusals of licence applications and cancellations of licences.
The horticulture industry has also been a strong focus for LHA’s program of regional engagement across 2023, with our team visiting towns and regional centres and meeting directly with horticulture hosts and stakeholders. These sessions will continue later this year, with horticulture providers and hosts encouraged to attend to support their understanding of their obligations and LHA’s activities.