Nationals Member for Mildura, Jade Benham, said her office has been inundated with concerns raised by business advisors and accountants, shedding light on a substantial loophole in the Labour Hire Authority that requires immediate attention.
Ms Benham has written to the Minister to acknowledge and address these issues promptly. It is essential to ensure the protection of our food producers and maintain the stability of the agricultural sector during these challenging times.
“There is a glaring absence of GST data matching between the Labour Hire Authority and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This creates a significant challenge in verifying the legitimacy of the Labour Hire Providers and the accuracy of the information provided.
“Labour Hire Providers (contractors) can effortlessly access the license numbers of registered Labour Hire suppliers and provide corresponding Australian Business Numbers (ABN). This accessibility poses a considerable risk to the integrity of the system.
“The absence of a publicly accessible register for WorkCover is a major concern, especially for ‘hosts’ such as farmers. In the event of an accident, the lack of transparency hampers the ability to identify legitimate WorkCover registrations,” Ms Benham Said.
Ms Benham suggests a commonsense approach, implementing a comprehensive digital system that includes photo ID verification, Labour Hire Authority license numbers, ABN verification, and WorkCover registration details. This integrated system would significantly enhance the ability to verify the legitimacy of Labour Hire Providers and protect the interests of farmers and other stakeholders.
“Farmers are experiencing heightened stress levels due to various challenges, including disease-ridden crops, loan recalls by banks, and the potential impact on the upcoming growing season.
“The identified issues within the Labour Hire Authority only add to the burden on farmers, making them feel like they are going from growing commodities to becoming commodities themselves.”
The Nationals are dedicated to looking after our food producers because Jacinta Allan and her Government can’t manage the red tape they, themselves put in place.