The Labour Hire Authority (LHA) has commenced legal action against a Victorian horticulture provider, alleging it subcontracted to unlicensed labour hire providers to provide workers to orchards in the Cobram area.
LHA alleges that Honey Bunny Global Pty Ltd engaged seven unlicensed labour hire providers, and that its director, Surawadee Tanchote, was knowingly concerned in, or a party to the contravention.
The alleged contravention carries maximum penalties of over $590,000 for a company and $145,000 for an individual – the highest available monetary penalties for companies and individuals under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic).
Labour hire providers who act as intermediaries and on-supply workers from other labour hire businesses must ensure they only enter these arrangements with other licensed providers, as well as ensuring they have a licence to provide labour hire services themselves.
“Any business attempting to hide unlawful behaviour through subcontracting is on notice – LHA has sophisticated capabilities, we will identify you, and we will take action against you,” said Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner, Steve Dargavel.
“Victorian businesses need to be aware that the same significant penalties apply for engaging another company to provide unlicensed labour hire services as for providing those services yourself.”
“Ensuring all Victorian labour hire companies are licensed is an essential way of protecting workers and improving the fairness and integrity of the industry.”
The legal action is the latest in a series of compliance and enforcement actions in LHA’s current focus on the horticulture industry, including:
- the successful prosecution in December 2022 of Ung Services Pty Ltd and its director, which failed to inform LHA of the director’s criminal convictions
- numerous investigations resulting in refusals of licence applications and cancellations of licences
- an action commenced in the Supreme Court of Victoria in May 2023 against A L Star Pty Ltd alleging the company provided workers to pick fruit and vegetables without a licence.
LHA is undertaking an expanded program of compliance and enforcement across 2023, focusing on several key industries and high-impact harms, including in horticulture. Read more about LHA’s current focus on horticulture.
Providers and hosts should use LHA’s tools to ensure they only use licensed providers: