New laws announced to support WA owner drivers

New laws designed to help safeguard the rights of heavy vehicle owner-drivers are now in place in WA.

The amended Owner-Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Amendment Act 2022 passed Parliament in October last year and officially came into play on June 1.

This followed extensive consultation with the Road Freight Transport Industry Council and the Road Freight Industry Tribunal.

The amendments are designed to 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.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said these updated laws will protect the rights of small businesses and independent operators who own and drive trucks.

“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,” she said.

“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.

For more information on the updated Owner-Drivers Act, please click here.


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