Terms of reference

Victorian inquiry into labour hire and insecure work - terms of reference

To inquire into, consider and report to the Minister for Industrial Relations by 31 July 2016 on:

(a) The extent, nature and consequence of labour hire employment in Victoria, including but not limited to:

  1. the employment status of workers engaged by labour hire companies;
  2. the use of labour hire in particular industries and/or regions; 
  3. the use and impact of labour hire arrangements in the supply chains of particular sectors, and the roles and responsibilities of various entities in those supply chains;
  4. the application of industrial relations laws and instruments; 
  5. the legal rights and obligations of labour hire employees, companies and host organisations/entities and any ambiguity that exists between them;
  6. allegations that labour hire and sham contracting arrangements are being used to avoid workplace laws, and other statutory obligations, and the current effectiveness of the enforcement of industrial relations, occupational health and safety and workers compensation laws;
  7. the need for labour hire companies and host organisations/entities to provide workers with suitable accommodation; and
  8. the extent and impact on long-term workforce needs of the practice of replacing permanent employees, apprentices and trainees with labour hire workers.

(b) The extent, nature and consequence of other forms of insecure work in Victoria, including but not limited to:

  1. the use of working visas, particularly in insecure, low paid, unskilled or semi-skilled jobs and trades;
  2. exploitation of working visa holders and other vulnerable classes of workers including female workers;
  3. sham contracting and the use of ‘phoenix’ corporate structures;
  4. the impact of insecure work on workers, their families and relationships, and on the local community, including financial and housing stress;
  5. the social and economic impacts for Victoria; and
  6. the ways in which unscrupulous employment practices create an uneven playing field for competing businesses. 

(c) In making recommendations, the Inquiry should have regard to matters including:

  1. the limitations of Victoria’s legislative powers over industrial relations and related matters and the capacity to regulate these matters;
  2. the powers of the Commonwealth as they extend to work visas;
  3. regulation in other Australian jurisdictions and in other countries, including how other jurisdictions regulate labour hire;
  4. the impact, benefits, or possible drawbacks  of any regulatory regime applying to labour hire businesses, on Victorian business;
  5. the ability of any Victorian regulatory arrangements to operate in the absence of a national approach;
  6. regulatory mechanisms to meet the objectives of protecting the rights of vulnerable workers; and
  7. Australia’s obligations under international law, including International Labour Organisation Conventions.