The new South Australian Labour Hire Licensing Act will be enforced from 31 August 2019. Under the Act, labour hire and contracting providers engaged in ‘labour hire services’ must apply for a licence. This includes vineyard contracting providers, picking and pruning gangs.

Unlicensed providers of labour hire services or clients who engage unlicensed providers – including wineries and grapegrowers – are subject to a $400,000 fine and/or three-year imprisonment.

The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) has advised it will continue to advocate for sensible amendments to the legislation.

“We’ve been arguing for sensible and practical changes to the licensing scheme since it was introduced by the former State Government,” said SAWIA Chief Executive Brian Smedley.

“Through our advocacy, SAWIA was able to obtain a number of important improvements to the Act. Given the number of fundamental issues remaining with the Act, we will continue to pursue changes suitable to the wine industry.

“In the meantime, we encourage wineries to contact their current contractors and labour providers to determine whether they must be licensed and ensure appropriate licences are in place well before vintage arrives.”

While vineyard owners and wineries are talking to contractors about licence requirements, Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Lee suggested it’s also an ideal time for a conversation about biosecurity.

“In particular, we encourage you to have ongoing conversations with all your contractors about the important role they play in helping to protect your vineyard from a pest or disease incursion and specific farm-gate hygiene practices you request them to undertake when they work for you.” Inca said.

For further information about labour hire legislation contact SAWIA on (08) 8222 9277.