Australia: What do the new Queensland labour hire licensing laws mean for you?

The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (Qld) (Act) commenced on 16 April 2018 and introduces a mandatory licensing regime for providers of labour hire services in Queensland. Importantly, the Act is likely to impact entities in a broad range of sectors not commonly associated with labour hire, including government.

The Act was introduced in response to evidence of exploitation of workers in the labour hire industry documented in a Report of the Queensland Finance and Administration Committee.

The stated purposes of the Act are to:1

  • protect workers from exploitation by providers of labour hire services; and
  • promote the integrity of the labour hire industry.


Given the broad definition of 'labour hire services' (discussed below), the reach of the Act is likely to be far wider than the labour hire industry.

Among those potentially affected by the Act are government bodies and government-affiliated entities who would not ordinarily consider themselves to be providers or users of labour hire services.

Notably, the Act provides that while the State cannot be prosecuted for an offence under the Act,2 it nonetheless remains bound by it.3 This effectively means the State must comply with the Act like any other private entity.

One particular area where government entities may fall foul of the Act is in their dealings with third parties. Seemingly innocuous arrangements which involve the supply of personnel (for instance, the supply of locum doctors to a State Health Service) may risk contravening the Act where the suppliers of such personnel are not licensed labour hire providers (see below).


The Act prescribes a number of offences which apply to both providers and users of 'labour hire services'. The main offences under the Act are as follows:

  • a person must not provide labour hire services unless they hold a licence;2
  • a person must not advertise, or in any way hold out, that they provide or are willing to provide labour hire services, unless they hold a licence;3
  • a person must not, without a reasonable excuse, enter into an arrangement with a provider for the provision of labour hire services to the person, unless the provider holds a licence;4 and
  • a person must not enter into an arrangement with another person for the supply of a worker if the person knows, or ought reasonably to know, the arrangement is designed to circumvent or avoid an obligation imposed by the Act, unless the person has a reasonable excuse.5

These offences are punishable by substantial penalties of up to $391,650 in certain cases.


At the heart of the Act is the concept of 'labour hire services'.

A person is a provider of labour hire services if, in the course of carrying on a business, they supply, to another person, a worker to do work.6

This definition has a number of important components. In particular:

  1. A person will usually be 'carrying on a business' where they undertake a commercial enterprise, for the purpose of profit, on a continuous and repetitive basis.7Significantly, however, that business does not have to have the dominant or even substantial purpose of providing labour hire.
  2. A 'supply' is likely to be a broad concept that is not confined by the legal or commercial details of the relationship between the provider of labour, the end user, and the worker who is supplied.
  3. Subject to some exceptions, an individual is a 'worker' if they enter into an arrangement with the provider under which the provider:8
    • may supply, to another person, the individual to do work; and
    • is obliged to pay the worker, in whole or part, for the work.

The drafting of this definition is significant because it focuses on what conduct is being undertaken, rather than who is undertaking it. The effect of this is to require entities to assess, on a case by case basis, whether compliance with the Act is met.


The Act, together with the Labour Hire Licensing Regulation 2018 (Qld), contain provisions which operate as exemptions to the requirement to hold a licence.

For instance, a person does not provide labour hire services merely because they are:9

  • a private employment agent under the Private Employment Agents Act 2005 (Qld); or
  • a contractor who enters into a contract to carry out construction work as defined in the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld), and engages subcontractors to carry out the work.

In addition, the following people are not considered 'workers' for the purposes of the definition of labour hire services:10

  • an individual whose annual wages meets or exceeds the high income threshold under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (currently $145,400) and who is not employed under a State industrial instrument, modern award or enterprise agreement;
  • where the provider of labour is a corporation, an executive officer of that corporation who is the only individual the provider supplies, in the course of business, to another person to do work;
  • an in-house employee who is supplied to another person to do work on a temporary basis on one or more occasions; and
  • an individual supplied to another person to do work if the provider and the other person are each part of an entity or group of entities that carry on business collectively as one recognisable business.

As governments strive to broaden their commercial presence, and traditional public functions are increasingly outsourced to the private sector, government bodies should be aware of the potential impact of the Act (and other regulatory regimes) on their dealings.


1Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (Qld) s 3.

2 Ibid, s 10(1).

3 Ibid, s 10(2).

4 Ibid, s 11(1).

5 Ibid, s 12.

6Ibid, s 7(1).

7See, for example, Hope v Bathurst City Council (1980) 144 CLR 1 at 8-9.

8 Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (Qld) s 8(1).

9 Ibid, s 7(3).

10 Labour Hire Licensing Regulation 2018 (Qld) reg 4.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Chambers Asia Pacific Awards 2016 Winner – Australia
Client Service Award
Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (WGEA)

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions