Proposed new owner-driver legislation brought to Parliament

A bill was yesterday brought to Parliament in WA, designed to offer additional protections for owner drivers.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti introduced the Owner-Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Amendment Bill 2022, which establishes a framework for regulating dealings between owner-drivers and their hirers.

“Our freight supply chains and transport industries are incredibly important to our economy, as we have seen recently with the disruption to the East-West rail link,” said Saffioti.

“Owner-drivers play a vital role in our road freight transport supply chain and we want to ensure they and other small businesses are protected so they can continue this vital work.”

The following changes are proposed under the new legislation:

  • Minimum periods for termination: contracts greater than three months will have a 90-day minimum notice period and contracts less than three months will have a 7-day minimum notice period;
  • Unfair or unjust contract provisions clarification;
  • Misleading and deceptive conduct specifically prohibited;
  • A 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;
  • Non-compliance with guideline rates: the Road Freight Transport Industry Council publishes “guideline rates” to inform industry participants when they bargain concerning 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 dealing; and
  • Changes to the Tribunal’s powers and jurisdiction to ensure they are better equipped to deliver just and efficient outcomes in dispute resolution.

Saffioti says the amendments are the result of several years of work including a review from 2018 which included extensive consultation undertaken with industry through the Road Freight Transport Industry Council with members representing the Transport Workers Union, Western Roads Federation and industry.

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