Victorian owner-driver pay laws set for change

Amendment Bill introduced to state parliament following inquiry

Victorian owner-driver pay laws set for change
The TWU has supported owner-driver law change proposals


Safe rates supporters have had a win in Victoria, with the state government introducing an amendment to the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors (ODFC) Act, warning hirers and brokers that fines of up to $4,000 would apply for non-compliance.

The Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Amendment Bill 2019 is said to "make work safer and fairer for owner drivers and forestry contractors, including drivers using digital freight and delivery platforms".

The Victorian government classifies owner drivers as small businesses that own and operate one to three vehicles to deliver goods.

The ODFC Act "is meant to assist owner drivers assess if a hirer’s offer is adequate and gives them enough pay for their labour", but the government says a review it had undertaken of the law "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".

Read more about the review that commenced in 2016, here

Under the amendment, non-compliant hirers and brokers who break the rules would face up to $800 per infringement, or up to $4,000 if the matter goes to court.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria, the watchdog established last year to enforce a range of industrial relations laws, will be responsible for monitoring compliance and issuing penalties.

The government has pledged that the inspectorate will conduct an information campaign before the laws come into force to ensure those affected are aware of their rights and obligations.

"Some hirers are shirking their responsibilities. Stronger enforcement is needed," Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas says.

"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."


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