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Freight brokers

Understand your obligations under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005

On this page

  • Find out whether the Act applies to you
  • Understand the requirements for freight brokers under the Act
  • Learn what the penalties are for non-compliance

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 freight broker?

A freight broker is someone who procures or arranges the engagement of an owner driver or forestry contractor by a hirer.

How do recent changes to the Act affect freight brokers?

Freight brokers in the transport and forestry industries have legal obligations under the Act, which was amended on 1 May 2020. It is important to fully understand these obligations.

From 1 May 2020, offences apply to freight brokers who do not comply with their obligations under the Act. Enforcement actions may include warning notices, penalty infringement notices and, in more serious cases, litigation.

However, to give the industry time to understand and meet their obligations under the amended Act, for six months from 1 May 2020 the Inspectorate will focus on providing information and education rather than litigation.

Hirers found to have breached their statutory obligations prior to 1 December 2020 will not be subject to litigation and will instead receive a formal warning.

Obligation to provide information

The Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 sets out a number of requirements to ensure owner drivers and forestry contractors have important information about their business and their contracts.

Freight brokers that procure or arrange the engagement of an owner driver or forestry contractor by a hirer must make sure the owner driver or forestry contractor has:

  • a copy of the information booklet that applies to their industry
  • the rates and cost schedule that relates to their vehicle or equipment.

The owner driver or forestry contractor must receive the information booklet and rates and cost schedule:

  • at least 3 days before the owner driver or forestry contractor is engaged – if the owner driver or forestry contractor will be engaged for at least 30 days
  • on the 30th day – if the owner driver or forestry contractor is engaged for a total period of at least 30 days in any 3-month period.

Penalties

The maximum penalty for failure to provide an information booklet to a contractor before entering into a contract is:

  • 25 penalty units in the case of a body corporate
  • 5 penalty units in any other case

Victorian Owner Drivers Information Booklet | accessible version (DOC 263 KB)DOC icon

Victorian Forestry Contractors Information Booklet (DOCX 159 KB)DOCX icon

The maximum penalty for failure to provide the relevant rates and costs schedule to a contractor before entering into a contract is:

  • 25 penalty units in the case of a body corporate
  • 5 penalty units in any other case.

Rates and costs schedules for owner drivers

Rates and costs schedules forestry contractors

Rates and costs schedules for tip truck drivers

Wage Inspectorate Victoria

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

Wage Inspectorate Victoria is available to provide information and answer queries. Please call the Information Line on 1800 287 287 or email.

The Inspectorate supports best practice in the transport and forestry industries. It carries out education, auditing and inspections to ensure that industry participants understand and comply with the Act’s requirements.

Wage Inspectorate Authorised Officers

Wage Inspectorate Authorised Officers ensure that freight brokers are complying with the Act. They have powers to:

  • require information or documents
  • monitor compliance with the Act and Regulations
  • investigate possible contraventions of the Act and Regulations
  • perform any other function or exercise any other power under the Act or Regulations

Wage Inspectorate Authorised Officers have the power to enter premises with the consent of the occupier.

Wage Inspectorate Authorised Officers must show their identity card when asked, or when requesting to enter premises.

Penalties

A maximum penalty of 100 penalty units in the case of a body corporate or 60 penalty units in any other case applies for:

  • failure to produce documents relevant to an investigation
  • unreasonably refusing to comply with an authorised officer’s request
  • knowingly providing false information

Make an anonymous report

If you suspect someone is breaking the rules relating to owner operators or contractors in transport or forestry, 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.