In May 2020, changes to the law covering owner-drivers in Victoria came into force.
In Victoria, owner-drivers are defined as small businesses that own and operate one to three vehicles to deliver goods. They and their hirers or freight brokers have rights and responsibilities under the updated Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (the ODFC Act).
The changes to the Act mean that hirers and freight brokers may, for the first time, face penalties for failing to meet some of their statutory obligations. The changes also make Wage Inspectorate Victoria responsible for enforcing the ODFC Act.
Wage Inspectorate Victoria understands that because of the global pandemic, the timing of these changes has created challenges.
With this in mind, Wage Inspectorate Victoria is taking an educative approach to enforcing the ODFC Act. It is focusing on providing information, support and guidance to help people in the industry to meet their obligations. For now, it will not take legal action if it finds any cases of non-compliance.
To improve the position of small businesses that transport goods in Victoria, the Act:
- requires certain information to be given to contractors before engagement
- prohibits unfair contract terms and practices
- states that contracts must be set out in writing for ongoing or long-term engagements
- requires minimum periods of notice when terminating ongoing or long-term engagements
- provides dispute resolution through the Victorian Small Business Commission
Find out more at www.business.vic.gov.au/odfc.
The Wage Inspectorate is available to help people in the industry understand their obligations and to answer any questions. Email them at email@example.com or call the information line on 1800 287 287.
NatRoad can help in drafting ODFC compliant contracts on a fee-for-service basis. Reach out to the NatRoad Member Services Team on 02 6295 3000 (8.30 am – 5.00 pm AEST, Mon-Fri) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.