ALRTA Special News – 22 December 2016

URGENT: REVIEW SECURITY FOR VEHICLES AND STAFF

The ALRTA and ATA urges all trucking operators to review security for their vehicles and staff following what appears to be a terrorist attack using a hijacked truck in Berlin this week.

Australia is not immune from terrorism. If you are in the industry and see something that doesn’t add up, contact the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.

Our thoughts go out to the Berlin victims and their loved ones.

National Security Hotline contact information

HAVE YOUR SAY ON VICTORIAN OWNER DRIVER LAWS

The Victorian Government is currently undertaking a review of the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (ODFC) with responses due by 31 January 2017.

The ALRTA is assisting with this issue because there is once again the potential for mandatory minimum rates.  We have seen it with the RSRT at the Federal level, we have seen it with the General Carriers Contract Determination in NSW, and now the battleground has shifted to Victoria.  Your state might be next!

The ALRTA and LRTAV are preparing submissions on behalf of rural transporters.

If you are an owner driver that operates a heavy vehicle within Victoria or you come into Victoria from another state you could be affected by any changes to the laws.

Please consider making a short personal submission supporting our campaign against the introduction of new red tape or mandatory minimum rates for rural carriers in Victoria.

What is the ODFC?

The ODFC applies to owner drivers that supply and operate one or more vehicles (whether solely or with the use of additional relief drivers).   It covers sole operators, partnerships and corporations.

It applies to:

  • contracts made in Victoria (or that Victorian law applies to)
  • transport of goods wholly within Victoria
  • interstate journeys where a substantial part of the services are performed in Victoria

The ODFC provides that:

  • The Minister must develop and publish rates schedules for fixed and variable heavy vehicle operating costs
  • Hirers and freight brokers must give contractors & tenderers an information booklet and a copy of the rates schedules (some exceptions apply for short-term work)
  • Contracts must be in writing with specified minimum content
  • Notice be given when contracts are terminated, or a payment made in lieu of notice
  • Hirers cannot require a contractor to pay insurance costs if a copy of current policy has not been provided
  • Hirers cannot make other deductions for services or equipment except in specified circumstances
  • Hirers and contractors are permitted use negotiating agents
  • A Code of Practice be prescribed that can apply to classes of hirers and operators
  • Unconscionable conduct is prohibited
  • Disputes may be referred to the Small Business Commissioner, with rules on costs, processes, representation and time limits
  • A tribunal with specified powers be established to hear disputes if unable to a resolved via the Small Business Commissioner
  • A ‘Transport Industry Council of Victoria’ be established to advise and make relevant recommendations to the Minister for Industrial Relations
  • Protections are enshrined for persons exercising their rights under the ODFC
  • The ODFC prevails over all regulated contracts

What changes are proposed?

The review is ‘all encompassing’ and clearly aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the current arrangements and exploring whether additional laws or guidelines are required.

The only specific recommendations under consideration relate to the development of a non-mandatory rates and cost schedule for tip trucks and measures to ensure that these are applied during normal hiring practices.

What to Include in your submission

Your submission need not be long and formal.  A simple email with a few dot points will do fine.

Some things you should consider including:

  • You are an owner driver or a hirer that is potentially affected by the ODFC
  • You are supportive of a safe and fair operating environment
  • Rural road transport is very different from urban or inter-capital transport tasks because it involves a lot of short-notice work, backloads, part loads, multiple hirers, empty running, and an owner driver can act as both a prime and sub-contractor
  • If you use a tipper, please provide some examples of how you use it (what do you carry, locations, distance, loading/unloading facilities, rates etc). We want to show that rural tipper work is very different to urban tipper work
  • You are concerned that new requirements applicable to tippers to address problems in the construction sector might cause problems for tippers in the rural sector
  • You are strongly opposed to any potential move towards mandatory minimum rates
  • Your experience with minimum rates under the RSRT was that owner drivers could no longer compete with larger trucking companies
  • You have pre-existing equipment finance or other loan commitments that must be serviced and do not want regulatory disruption to your business
  • Negative outcomes for owner drivers will have disproportionate impacts in rural and regional areas, including for all ancillary transport services
  • You are concerned that rural carriers are not adequately represented on the Transport Industry Council of Victoria (this body advises the Victorian Industrial Relations Minister about owner driver matters)

How to lodge your submission

You can email you submission to odfc.yoursay@ecodev.vic.gov.au or post it to:

Deputy Secretary, Industrial Relations Victoria
GPO Box 4509
Melbourne Victoria 3001

Submissions are due by 31 January 2017.  All submissions will be treated in confidence.

Other Information

You can find the key documents here:

REMINDER: NATIONAL CONFERENCE

The registration brochure for the ALRTA and LRTAQ combined National Conference is now available.  The event will be held 17-18 February 2017 in Toowoomba, QLD.

The full two-day program of events can be found here.  We will bring you further announcements as the event draws nearer.

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