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Freight brokers in transport and forestry

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

What is a freight broker?

A freight broker is a broker or agent that procures or arranges the engagement of an owner driver or forestry contractor by a hirer. This includes online platforms that facilitate the engagement of owner drivers or forestry contractors by hirers.

Freight brokers in the transport and forestry industries have legal obligations under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 and the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Regulations 2017. It is important to fully understand these obligations.

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.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Act and Regulations.

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 costs schedule that relates to their vehicle or equipment.

Freight brokers must give this information to owner drivers and forestry contractors:

  • at least 3 business days before the owner driver or forestry contractor is engaged, if they will be engaged for a period of at least 30 days; or
  • 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.

Freight brokers must give tip truck owner drivers working in the building and construction industry (regardless of how long they will be engaged for):

  • a copy of the owner driver information booklet at least 3 business days before the tip truck driver is first engaged. Unless it is revised, it does not need to be provided for subsequent engagements through the same freight broker
  • a copy of the relevant rates and costs schedule at least 3 business days before the tip truck driver is first engaged. Unless it is revised, it does not need to be provided for subsequent engagements through the same freight broker if the interval between engagements does not exceed 12 months.

A freight broker must also provide any new versions of the relevant rates and costs schedules published by the Victorian Government to owner drivers and forestry contractors as soon as possible after publication.

How to provide these resources

The rates and costs schedules and information booklet can be provided in hard copy or electronic form. You could provide a link to this webpage, or you could download the documents from this website as PDFs or Word documents and provide them in that format.

You could also print the documents and provide them by mail or in person.

It is important to keep good records to show you have complied with the Act (see section on record-keeping below).

Penalties

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

  • $4,130.50 in the case of a body corporate
  • $826.10 in any other case.

Victorian Owner Drivers Information Booklet (PDF 420.08 KB)PDF icon

Victorian Owner Drivers Information Booklet | accessible version (DOC 128.34 KB)DOC icon

Victorian Forestry Contractors Information Booklet (PDF 600.17 KB)PDF icon

Victorian Forestry Contractors Information Booklet | accessible version (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:

  • $4,130.50 in the case of a body corporate
  • $826.10 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

Record-keeping obligations

On 1 March 2021, changes to the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Regulations 2017 will come into force. Under the changes, freight brokers will be responsible for keeping records to prove they are meeting their obligations under the Act.

Freight brokers are required to keep the following records in relation to each engagement of a contractor and provide them to an authorised officer if requested:

  • the name and contact details of the contractor
  • the date on which the contractor was engaged
  • the period of the engagement
  • if the freight broker gave an information booklet or the applicable rates and costs schedule to the contractor, the date or dates on which they were given and any records of them being given
  • if the freight broker gave an information booklet or the applicable rates and costs schedule by hand, a signed acknowledgement of receipt by the contractor.

Wage Inspectorate Authorised Officers have the power to require information or documents, and it is an offence to fail to comply with this requirement.

Penalties

A maximum penalty of $16,522 in the case of a body corporate or $9,913.20 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.

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 odfc@dpc.vic.gov.au.

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.

Officers can require you to provide information or documents, and you must comply with this requirement unless you have a reasonable excuse not to. You must not knowingly produce false or misleading information or documents.

Wage Inspectorate Authorised Officers also 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 $16,522  in the case of a body corporate or $9,913.20 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 a complaint

If you have a complaint relating to a transport or forestry contract engagement, you can report it using the Wage Inspectorate complaint form.

You also have the option to make an anonymous report if you suspect someone is breaking the rules relating to owner drivers or contractors but you don’t want to provide personal information.

Can’t find the information you need?

Please call the Wage Inspectorate Information Line on 1800 287 287 or email odfc@dpc.vic.gov.au.