LHA has recently refused several labour hire licence applications on the grounds that the applicant’s relevant persons were not fit and proper persons under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic).
In one recent example, an applicant declared that a relevant person was a fit and proper person. However, it was identified from LHA’s records that the relevant person was also a relevant person for another licence which was cancelled within the past five years due to non-payment of the annual fee.
The applicant was given an opportunity to provide reasoning on why LHA should consider a discretionary grant. However, their response did not satisfy the LHA that it was appropriate to grant the licence, and the application was refused.
In another recent example, LHA received an application where each relevant person was not compliant with the Act, and the nominated officer was also the nominated officer of a provider under LHA investigation. Following an investigation, LHA concluded the applicant may have:
- contravened labour hire industry laws in Queensland
- misclassified workers as independent contractors
- failed to make superannuation contributions
- contravened migration laws
- contravened the Crimes Act.
As a result of the investigation, LHA refused the application for the new licence, as well as cancelling the licence of the other provider.
What applicants need to know
Applicants must be aware that to be granted a licence, all directors and other key people involved in managing the business must be fit and proper, or provide sufficient information about their circumstances that supports the decision maker to grant the licence.
Applicants must provide accurate information as part of their application, including if their relevant persons are not fit and proper. Under limited circumstances, LHA may exercise discretion to grant a licence after considering background information – this is unlikely to occur if applicants are untruthful or withhold information.
Licensed providers must also ensure all directors and key persons continue to be fit and proper, and notify LHA if relevant persons change, or if any of them cease to be fit and proper under the Act.
LHA recently took legal action against a provider who had failed to disclose their director had criminal convictions for offences including drug trafficking and theft. Subsequently, the Supreme Court of Victoria issued fines of over $380,000 for the body corporate and over $96,000 to its director.