Goods and freight owner drivers
What we do
The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) helps to resolve disputes between contractors and their hirers. This includes:
- goods and freight owner drivers transporting goods (not passengers), using up to three vehicles supplied by them – this includes owner drivers working for online platform businesses
- forestry contractors
- haulage contractors.
We work with you to resolve the issue by providing free information services and assistance early on (over the phone or via email), and low-cost mediation and arbitration.
We provide these services under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (the Act), which provides protection for owner drivers and forestry contractors in the transport industry.
How we can help
Some of the common disputes the VSBC can assist with are:
- termination notices – usually relating to monies owed
- contract disputes – usually relating to terms and conditions, and written contracts
- alleged breaches of the Act.
The VSBC can also issue a certificate waiving the minimum notice period for a contract to be terminated.
Disputes between contractors and hirers need to come to the VSBC for mediation and/or arbitration before they can be referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Mediation is a process where the parties in a dispute meet voluntarily to discuss the issue with the help of an independent mediator. The aim is to reach a resolution that both parties accept. The cost of mediation is $95 per party for each session.
When mediation isn’t successful or where both parties agree it’s unlikely to succeed, the VSBC can arrange for a binding arbitration, where a final decision is made by an independent arbitrator to keep the dispute out of court. The cost of arbitration is $290 per party.
The Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 was developed to regulate and establish mandatory requirements in relation to a code of practice.
The Act also sets out requirements to help contractors improve their business skills and build their understanding of their cost structures and contracts.