New Owner-Drivers Bill passes in WA

A new Bill designed to provide additional protections for WA’s owner drivers has passed in parliament.

The amendments aim to enhance operational efficiency, safety and regulation of dealings between owner-drivers and hirers in the road freight transport industry.

“The road freight industry is essential to WA’s supply chains and plays a vital role in moving freight throughout our State,” said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“As owner-drivers play a key role in enabling the efficient and safe movement of freight across WA, changes to the Act will help provide more protections to small business and contractors in the industry.”

According to the WA government, these changes come after of years of work and extensive consultation with the Road Freight Transport Industry Council and Road Freight Industry Tribunal.

The Department of Transport (DoT) will be working alongside industry to implement updated changes, which include the below:

  • Contracts greater than three months will have a 90-day minimum notice period and contracts less than three months a 7-day minimum notice period;
  • 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;
  • The Road Freight Transport Industry Council will publish “guideline rates” to inform industry participants when they bargain 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 conduct; and
  • Changes to the Tribunal’s powers and jurisdiction to ensure they are better equipped to deliver just and efficient outcomes in dispute resolution.

“It is important there are sufficient and appropriate safeguards and protections for those small business operators and better avenues for dispute resolution between owner-drivers and hirers through improved administration of the Act and Tribunal proceedings,” added Saffioti.

“The Bill helps simplify and enhance the day-to-day operations of the WA Owner-Drivers laws and contributes to safer and more sustainable operations across the WA road freight transport industry in years to come.”

DoT will work with industry to prepare for the implementation of the changes which will come into effect in the first half of 2023.

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