Owner-driver laws

Have your say on options to expand the coverage of owner-driver laws in WA to operators and hirers in the light vehicle freight transport sector.

Potential amendments to the Owner-Driver Act

The Department of Transport is seeking feedback on policy options to expand the Owner-Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Act 2007 (WA) to cover independent owner-drivers operating in the small freight sector, including courier drivers and food delivery contractors. Currently the legislation applies only to independent owner-drivers of heavy vehicles and their hirers. 

A Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (C-RIS) has been developed that sets out three options for change, information about current arrangements in WA and other States, and potential impacts of proposed changes to Federal Industrial Relations legislation.

Stakeholders including business, industry, unions, other Australian Governments, and members of the public are encouraged to consider the options outlined in the C-RIS and provide feedback via ownerdriver@transport.wa.gov.au or by post to:

Department of Transport
Attention: Transport Reform, FPAR
GPO Box C102
Perth WA 6839

Submissions close at 5.00 pm, Friday, 26 April 2024.

Owner-driver updated laws in force

Updated owner-driver laws came into effect in WA from 1 June 2023. The amendments will help improve business dealings between heavy vehicle owner-drivers and hirers. 

The amendments to the Act will better support safe and sustainable operations across the State’s road-freight transport industry and were developed in consultation with the Road Freight Transport Industry Council and the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal. 

The key changes to the Owner-Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Act 2007 in effect from 1 June 2023 are described below. 

Minimum notice periods

A 90-day minimum notice period for termination of a contract of 90 days or more and a seven-day minimum notice period for contracts less than 90 days.  

  • An important change is that should the aggregate term of the original contract and any consecutive series of contracts between the same parties that contain substantially similar terms and conditions add up to 90 days or more, the 90 day minimum notice period applies.
  • This will give owner-drivers more job security and allow both owner-drivers and hirers more time to adjust to change.
  • The Act provides for payment to be made in lieu of notice. For example, if the termination of the contract is to take effect immediately, the payment in lieu amount would be calculated as the total amount that would be payable under the contract in respect of the applicable minimum notice period, less 25%.  

Non-compliance with guideline rates

  • Non-compliance to owner-driver guideline pay rates will be factored into dispute resolution decisions made by the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal. 
  • This change places more responsibility on hirers to offer fair pay for owner-driver services.

Changes to the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal’s powers and jurisdiction

  • The amendments to the Act make it clear that owner-driver contracts that are within 12 months of expiry can be referred to the Tribunal for dispute resolution.
  • It also makes it clear that when owner-drivers and hirers are negotiating contracts, they must not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct, or discriminatory behaviour.
  • The Act provides better guidance to the Tribunal as to what terms of an owner driver contract may be unfair.
  • These amendments will help enforce appropriate industry standards of behaviour and better equip the Tribunal to deliver just and efficient outcomes when resolving disputes.

Workplace right of entry provisions

Workplace right of entry provisions have been updated to allow an owner-driver’s representative to enter a workplace to investigate suspected breaches of the Act and are consistent with current WA industrial relations laws.

The updates set out defined processes for authorising, suspending and revoking the right of entry authority and will help inform the Tribunal’s dispute resolution processes.

Page last updated: Thu Jan 18 2024 4:44:40 PM