Parliament House, Canberra, ACT

Years of work by the Road Freight Transport Industry Council and Road Freight Industry Tribunal has seen the Owner-Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Amendment Bill 2022 passed in Parliament, providing security for the industry’s small businesses and independent contractors.

The amendments to the Owner-Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Act 2007 (the Act) will enhance operational efficiency, safety and regulation of dealings between owner-drivers and hirers, providing benefits for all road users across the road transport network.

The Department of Transport (DoT) will be working alongside industry to implement updated changes, which include:

  • Contracts greater than three months will have a 90-day minimum notice period
  • Contracts less than three months will have a seven day minimum notice period
  • Workplace right of entry for an owner-driver’s authorised representative for the purpose of investigating suspected breaches of the Act
  • Discrimination will be a form of unconscionable conduct under the Act
  • The Road Freight Transport Industry Council to publish “guideline rates” to inform industry participants when they bargain rates of pay
    • Non-compliance with guideline rates will be a factor relevant when the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal determines whether there has been unconscionable conduct
  • Changes to the Tribunal’s powers and jurisdiction to ensure they are better equipped to deliver just and efficient outcomes in dispute resolution

DoT will work with industry to prepare for the implementation of the changes which will come into effect in the first half of 2023.

Western Australian Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, said the road freight industry is essential to Western Australia’s supply chains and plays a vital role in moving freight throughout the state.

“As owner-drivers play a key role in enabling the efficient and safe movement of freight across Western Australia, changes to the Act will help provide more protections to small business and contractors in the industry,” Ms Saffioti said. 

“It is important there are sufficient and appropriate safeguards and protections for those small business operators and better avenues for dispute resolution between owner-drivers and hirers through improved administration of the Act and Tribunal proceedings.

“The Bill helps simplify and enhance the day-to-day operations of the Western Australian Owner-Drivers laws and contributes to safer and more sustainable operations across the Western Australian road freight transport industry in years to come.

“Industry will continue to be consulted with in the coming months to ensure they are ready for the changes that will come into effect in the first half of 2023.”

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