RMIT labour law expert Professor Anthony Forsyth is heading an inquiry into the labour hire industry and insecure work in Victoria, which begins public hearings this week.
Forsyth is chair of the year-long investigation into the practices of labour hire companies, insecure work, sham contracting and the abuse of visas to avoid workplace laws and undermine minimum employment standards.
Announcing Forsyth’s appointment, Victorian Minister for Industrial Relations, Natalie Hutchins, hailed the legal specialist’s expertise in labour relations law and how the labour market operates in Australia and other countries.
“As the inquiry chair, Professor Forsyth will look at the detailed reports of widespread exploitation of workers in certain industries,” Hutchins said.
“The inquiry will also examine the impact of insecure work on employees, their families and the community as a whole.”
Forsyth, from RMIT’s Graduate School of Business and Law, said he will investigate if the current legal framework is meeting the needs of Victorian employers and employees.
“This will be a fact-finding exercise following concerns that some labour hire companies do not pay workers their minimum legal entitlements,” he said.
“The Government has tasked the Inquiry with finding out about the extent of the problem, the sectors and regions of Victoria where it’s occurring, and any possible regulatory solutions.”
Forsyth teaches labour law, introduction to law and legal research at RMIT, and until recently was the Director of the Graduate School’s Juris Doctor degree.
He is also a consultant with the Corrs Chambers Westgarth Workplace Relations Group, where he advises corporate and public sector clients on employment and workplace relations.
Forsyth has represented parties on all sides of the industrial “fence” during his distinguished career, and undertaken research for a wide range of organisations including the Business Council of Australia, the CFMEU and the Fair Work Commission.
Following consultations with workers, business, unions and other stakeholders, he is expected to hand down his report in July 2016.
Story: Kelly Ryan