- Sunday, 14 February 2021 at 9:46 pm
- Department of Premier and Cabinet
On 1 March 2021, amended regulations will come into force that make hirers and freight brokers in transport and forestry responsible for keeping records to help prove they are meeting their obligations when dealing with contractors.
Some of the requirements they must meet include that:
- certain information is given to contractors before engagement
- contracts are set out in writing for ongoing or long-term engagements
- minimum periods of notice are met when terminating ongoing or long-term engagements
Records must include details about the contractor and their engagement by a hirer or freight broker (including whether the hirer terminated the engagement), and evidence that the contractor received the industry handbook and rates and cost schedules that must be given to them before engagement.
Most hirers and freight brokers already keep these records in some way, and the regulations do not require a specific record-keeping method, so that means electronic or paper records are fine.
Wage Inspectorate Victoria will monitor compliance
The Wage Inspectorate is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Act. Its officers have the power to require you to produce information or documents, and it is an offence to fail to meet this requirement unless you have a reasonable excuse not to. The maximum penalty for this offence is $16,522 in the case of a body corporate, or $9,913.20 in any other case.
The amended regulations also enable Wage Inspectorate Authorised Officers to issue ‘on the spot’ fines for certain offences. The maximum fines for each offence will be $165.22 for an individual and $826.10 for a body corporate.
New rates and cost schedules for general freight vehicles
Advisory rates and costs schedules set out the typical costs of running an owner driver business based on the type of vehicle a driver operates. The schedules for general freight vehicles have been updated for 2021, and are available on the Business Victoria website.
To meet their obligations, hirers and freight brokers should ensure they give contractors copies of the most up-to-date rates and costs schedules.