Transport Update (Issue 28)

By on September 29, 2006

Owner Drivers Update—Transport Contractor’s Obligations

The Owner Driver and Forestry Contractors Act was passed in Vic Parliament in 2005, with the intention of the Act being implemented by late 2006.

The intention of the Act is to create a legislative framework to protect the owner driver sector of the transport industry that the Government perceived has been vulnerable in operating their businesses. Among a raft of reasons driving the Act, the most pressing was concerns about low earnings for owner drivers and the lack of a dispute resolution processes.

The Act includes the appointment by the Minister of a Transport Industry Council which may develop Codes of Practice, develop cost schedules and establish model commercial agreements and other activities requested by the Minister.

The Act applies to:

  • A natural person who personally or in partnership carries on a business of transporting goods in a vehicle supplied and operated by the natural person.
  • A corporation that carries on a business of transporting goods where the business is carried out using a vehicle or vehicles supplied by the corporation and operated by an officer of the corporation.

Under these definitions CMPA Members who hire subcontract cartage contractors have obligations under this Act. The obligations entail a number of items that hirers (Members) have to be prepared for.

The most important of these concerns a written contract having to be made available that is complying with the details in the Act. This contract has to have detail to reflect the Act and specific enough to reflect the items particular to our industry sector. For this reason the CMPA has developed an industry specific contract ready for Members to use.

Mr Lindsay Coombs, our consultant preparing the contract, and myself have been in close consultation with Industrial Relations Victoria and will be attending meetings with the Transport Industry Council during the development process of the cost schedules, model agreements and codes.

At this stage the implementation of the Act is planned for 1 December 2006.

Whilst the proposed date may vary due to the tasks the Transport Industry Council has to complete, we feel that it is important our document should be available for Members and their Contractors to use as soon as the final date for implementation is known.

Due to the changes the Owner Driver and Forestry Contractors Act will have on how we conduct the transport side of our businesses, the CMPA’s development of its “Conditions of Contract for the Hiring of Cartage Contractors” will be an important commercial tool that will ensure continued harmony in our sector of the transport industry.

We were invited to the Transport Industry Council meeting on the 29/08/06, and when we sought clarification, they encouraged our Association to continue to develop our industry specific contract.

The CMPA was formally requested to attend the working party to develop the cost scheduling specific to our industry sector as required under the Act.

The CMPA has established itself in an important position to assist in the developments required under the Act.

Mark Wagner

Changes in Truck Mass Limits Here

On June 30, 2006 the Vic Roads ‘Mass Management’ pilot scheme was closed. No additional vehicles or operators will be entered into the scheme.

For those operators registered and participating in the pilot scheme, a letter should have been received in the mail detailing the changes and outlining how an operator can take up the option of joining the “National Heavy Vehicles Accreditation Scheme” (NHVAS) mass scheme or ‘Concessional Mass Limits’ (CML) module.

CML Mass is intended to allow certain operators to maintain the Pilot existing benefits, however this means that there is no increase in mass for all truck and trailer operators.

Three axle trucks and three axle dog trailers without road-friendly suspensions systems will be permitted to gross 42.50 tonnes if the vehicle has the appropriate GCM.

Three axle trucks and three axle dog trailers with road friendly suspension systems will be permitted to gross 45.50 tonnes if the vehicle has the appropriate GCM.(This is allowed by Victorian legislation without the need of a permit of accreditation. Schedule 3 Road Safety(Vehicles) Regulations 1999.)

Three axle trucks with four axle trailers (quads) will only be permitted a 50 tonne gross if the vehicle has the appropriate GCM and complies with the requirements of Vic Roads. (ie. Road friendly suspension and distance requirements).

If truck trailer operators are travelling interstate, it is important to check what limits are permitted in the state that they are travelling to or through.

Measurement Adjustment

The previous NAASRA ‘administrative tolerances’ for mass have been replaced with a measurement adjustment based on weighing equipment accuracy, effective from 1 July 2006. A VicRoads brochure outlining CML and Measurement Adjustment is being developed and will be on the VicRoads website shortly.

For more information contact your local VicRoads Transport Safety Services Coordinator, the www.gazette.vic.gov.au (Numbers S166 and S167), or the CMPA Secretariat.

John Welsh
Email: den_dulk@bigpond.net.au

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