Labour hire workers in the horticulture industry are the target of a significant new communication campaign by the Labour Hire Authority (LHA).
Launching this week across digital, social media, radio and press channels, the campaign aims to raise workers’ awareness of their rights and how to report unfair treatment by labour hire businesses.
Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner, Steve Dargavel, said the campaign would help to protect horticulture workers by highlighting how to safely report issues to LHA.
“Horticulture workers are among the industry’s most vulnerable, so it’s crucial that we empower them to speak up – whether it’s an issue concerning themselves or their workmates,” Commissioner Dargavel said.
The campaign was developed in consultation with a range of organisations that engage regularly with horticulture workers, and includes campaign materials translated into nine relevant languages.
“Thousands of migrant workers, from a range of regions and cultural backgrounds, come to Victoria each year to follow the harvest trail,” Commissioner Dargavel said.
“For this campaign to connect with horticulture workers, it was important for the language and imagery to reflect their diverse backgrounds and experiences,” he said.
Information for workers – along with English and translated versions of posters, handouts and digital assets – are available for workers and stakeholders to download on a dedicated campaign website:
This new communication campaign follows significant LHA compliance and enforcement activity in the horticulture industry over the past 12 months, targeting a range of contraventions by labour hire providers and hosts.
A horticulture provider was recently issued a total penalty of $617,916 – the highest in Australian history for breaches of labour hire law – following a Labour Hire Authority (LHA) prosecution.
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. Read a wrap-up of LHA’s 2023 regional and industry engagement activities.
“We want labour hire workers to know they can contribute to protecting themselves and their workmates, and let us know about unfair or unlawful behaviour by labour hire companies,” Commissioner Dargavel said.
Compliance and enforcement in horticulture
The horticulture industry continues to be a focus of LHA compliance and enforcement, with recent significant activities including:
- the successful prosecution of A L Star Express Pty Ltd which 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.
Visit the Horticulture Worker page for more information about the communication campaign.