A National Labour Hire Scheme … Really?

If anyone is talking to you about a national labour hire licensing scheme, just ask them what they would do with the four current state and territory schemes.

Perhaps the only justification for visiting the regulatory burden of a another licensing scheme on the Australian labour market would be that it might pave the way to dismantle the four existing schemes – at least in part. One set of regulatory burdens in place of four. Maybe that could be justified. But can you see anyone actually doing it?

And even if it could be achieved, what would stop the states and territories from retaining local schemes to licence labour hire supply to their own public sectors, which are substantial users of labour hire services – though some of them might not like to admit it.

Those with longer memories might recall the measures that were included in the intergovernmental Competition Principles Agreement to encourage the dismantling of anti-competitive state licensing schemes during the Hilmer reform era. Perhaps that’s a history that should be revisited.

Andrew C. Wood

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