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News

New Qld labour hire laws take effect

Queensland companies which provide temporary and casual workers will now have to get a licence to operate, with new laws taking effect from this week.

The laws were set up following a 2016 report into the state's labour hire industry which found instances of workers being underpaid or not paid at all, sexually assaulted and exposed to serious personal safety hazards.

Queensland Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the new laws would protect workers' rights and ensure employers were held to account if they did the wrong thing.

"Labour hire has been an unregulated industry for far too long and, unfortunately, this has meant some rogue operators with scant regard for their obligations have been able to take advantage of employees," Ms Grace said.

"You need a licence to sell a house and you need one to sell a car, so it only makes sense that you would need a licence to hire out labour."

Existing companies will have 60 days to apply for a licence and must prove they can comply with the new legislation, although they can continue trading until the 60-day window expires.

The laws will apply to all companies who provide labour hire in Queensland, including those based interstate or overseas.

Any company breaching the new laws faces fines, jail time and having their licence cancelled.

© AAP 2018