National

Vic boss fined for underpaying Qld workers

By AAP Newswire

A Victorian labour-hire company has been slapped with a record fine for wage theft at a berry farm north of Brisbane.

Yellow Hoa Pty Ltd and director Thi Hoa Duong were convicted and fined a total of $180,000 for operating without a Queensland licence, the Office of Industrial Relations said on Thursday.

Australian Border Force and the Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit raided the Elimbah farm in June 2019, following a tip-off about the exploitation, a spokesman said.

Investigations found Yellow Hoa was paying its workers in cash at below the award rate.

It had also not provided them with superannuation or workers' compensation.

Yellow Hoa and Duong were sentenced in Caboolture Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

In sentencing, magistrate James Blanch said the company blatantly and fraudulently underpaid its workers despite charging the berry grower to pay them correctly.

He also noted Duong had not co-operated with inspectors and attempted to deregister Yellow Hoa in a bid to evade prosecution.