Prime Mover Magazine

Owner drivers to benefit from legislation change

The Victorian Government claims to be making work safer and fairer for owner drivers and forestry contractors, including drivers using digital freight and delivery platforms.

Minister for Industrial Relations, Tim Pallas, recently introduced a Bill to Parliament that will help ensure owner drivers and forestry contractors are paid correctly, are safer at work and can better look after their businesses.

The legislation follows a comprehensive review of the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act, which is meant to assist owner drivers assess if a hirer’s offer is adequate and gives them enough pay for their labour.

The review found many hirers and brokers were not complying with the Act, for instance not providing cost schedules and contracts, leading to safety, income and business risks for owner drivers.

Under the changes, hirers and brokers must comply, or else face significant penalties of up to $4,000 per infringement.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria will be responsible for monitoring compliance, increasing awareness and issuing penalties.

Hirers who break the rules will face up to $800 per infringement, or up to $4,000 if the matter goes to court.

The Wage Inspectorate was established last year to help better protect worker rights under a range of Victorian industrial relations laws.

It will conduct a comprehensive information campaign before the laws come into force, to ensure that those affected are aware of their rights and obligations and know where they can find help.

“Some hirers are shirking their responsibilities – stronger enforcement is needed,” said Pallas.

“We’re making sure hirers in the delivery industry fulfil their duties and give owner drivers the vital information they need to work safely and profitably.

“This legislation will ensure owner drivers know what they’re getting into when they accept a contract. Better information will lead to much better futures,” he said.

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