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Forestry contractors

Better understand the typical costs of operating your business and your rights as a contractor

On this page

  • Download the information booklet for forestry contractors and hirers
  • Assess the costs of running your business based on the type of vehicle you operate
  • Understand your rights when offering your services as a forestry contractor

Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005

The Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 aims to improve the position of owner drivers and forestry contractors who run small businesses transporting goods or harvesting forestry products.

The Act provides owner drivers and forestry contractors with some protections when they contract out their services. It requires that they are provided with certain information to assist in running a successful business. It also sets out a framework for resolving disputes.

Hirers and freight brokers in the transport and forestry industries have legal obligations under this Act, which was amended on 1 May 2020. It is important that they fully understand these obligations.

What is a forestry contractor?

Under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 a forestry contractor is a harvesting contractor or a haulage contractor. The Act only applies to contractors, not employees.

  • A harvesting contractor is a person that runs a business to harvest forest products using motorised equipment supplied by them
  • A haulage contractor is a person that runs a business to transport forest products in one or more vehicles supplied by them, where they also operate one of those vehicles

Information booklet for forestry contractors

The Victorian Forestry Contractors Information Booklet (DOCX 159 KB)DOCX icon is a practical resource to help forestry contractors to successfully operate a business. It covers:

Hirer and freight brokers are required to provide an owner driver with a copy of the information booklet before they are engaged. See information for Hirers and information for Freight Brokers.

Understanding your business costs

Our cost schedules outline the typical operating costs of a forestry contractor business based on the type of vehicle or forestry equipment a contractor operates. The schedules show the equipment and vehicle operating costs (variable costs), and costs such as registration, finance, administration, insurance and self-funded superannuation (fixed costs).

Using written contracts

As a contractor, you have a right to require a written contract for ongoing engagements of no fixed duration or for a period of at least 30 days. The written contract must specify the minimum hours of work or income level you will receive and the rates to be paid. It should also state the minimum amount of notice to be given if the contract is terminated (this applies to engagements that are longer than 3 months). A model contract is available to help contractors and hirers.

Negotiating agents

Forestry contractors and hirers can ask an agent to negotiate contracts on their behalf. A model form that can be used to appoint a negotiating agent is available.

Access to dispute resolution

Under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005, hirers and contractors can contact the Victorian Small Business Commission to arrange fast and low-cost alternative dispute resolution if disagreements arise. The dispute resolution process can be used for disputes arising under or in relation to the Act, Code of Practice or in relation to a contractor or a hirer.

Disputes that are not resolved by the Small Business Commission may be referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for determination.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria

Wage Inspectorate Victoria is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005.

If you have any questions, Wage Inspectorate Victoria is available to provide information and answer queries. Please call the Information Line on 1800 287 287 or email.

Make an anonymous report

If you suspect someone is breaking the rules relating to owner operators or contractors, you can report it. Click here to fill out a report form. We will not ask you for personal information such as your name or contact details. We will not contact you about the information you have given us or ask you to be involved in our investigations.