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Owner drivers

Improve your business skills and better understand your cost structures and contracts.

On this page

  • Download the owner driver information booklet
  • Assess the costs of running your business based on the type of vehicle you operate
  • Understand your rights when offering your services as an owner driver

The 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 an owner driver?

Under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005, an owner driver is someone that operates up to a maximum of three vehicles to transport goods (not passengers). The owner of the business must also drive one of the vehicles. The Act does not apply to employee drivers, only contractors.

The Act also covers tip truck owner drivers engaged to work on building and construction sites in Victoria. See our Tip truck owner drivers page.

The Act also applies to harvesting and haulage contractors in the forestry industry. See our Forestry Contractors page.

Information booklet for owner drivers

The Victorian Owner Drivers Information Booklet (DOC 263 KB)DOC icon is a practical resource to help owner drivers to successfully operate a business. It covers:

  • rights and obligations under the Owner Driver and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 and the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Code of Practice
  • guidance for running a successful small business
  • other laws and regulations that apply to transport activities
  • sources of advice and assistance.
Hirer and freight brokers are required to provide an owner driver with a copy of the information booklet before they are engaged. See our information for Hirers and information for Freight Brokers.

Understanding your business costs

Our cost schedules outline the typical costs of running a business as an owner driver or tip truck owner driver based on the type of vehicle that a driver operates. The schedules aim to help owner drivers to better understand their cost structures, and how increases and decreases in different cost items can affect profits.

Hirers must give owner drivers the rates and costs schedule that relates to their vehicle.

Using written contracts

As an owner driver, you have a right to require a written contract for ongoing engagements if they have no fixed duration or if they are 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 owner drivers and hirers.

Negotiating agents

Owner drivers and hirers can ask an agent to negotiate contracts on their behalf. Model templates that can be used to appoint a negotiating agent are 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 or the 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 drivers 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.