New laws in place for owner-drivers in WA

Updated laws introduced by the Western Australian Government to safeguard the rights of owner-drivers of heavy vehicles operating in the road freight transport industry come into effect today.

The amended Owner-Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Amendment Act 2022 passed Parliament in October last year and is the result of extensive consultation with the Road Freight Transport Industry Council and the Road Freight Industry Tribunal.

The amendments will help improve business dealings between owner-drivers of heavy vehicles who transport freight and the people who hire them, by clarifying the regulatory responsibilities of both parties.

The changes include the introduction of minimum notice periods of 90 days for termination of a contract longer than three months, and seven days for contracts less than three months.

The role of the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal has also been clarified to make sure it can deliver fair and efficient outcomes in dispute resolution between owner-drivers and hirers.

Non-compliance with owner-driver guideline pay rates will now be factored into dispute resolution decisions made by the Tribunal.

This change places more responsibility on hirers to offer fair pay for owner-driver services.

In addition, workplace right of entry provisions have also been updated to allow an authorised owner-driver’s representative to enter a workplace to investigate suspected breaches of the Act.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the updated laws protect the rights of small businesses and independent operators who own and drive trucks in the freight industry.

“These are the small operators who are making a big difference to our economy and our lives, by helping to keep our supply chains going and delivering goods across our State,” Saffioti said in a statement.

“Our new laws will provide them with better protection and improve their position in matters including job security and fair pay, as well as clear processes to follow to resolve disputes.

“We have consulted extensively with industry to update these laws which will result in more streamlined and reasonable business dealings between owner-drivers and people hiring their services.”

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