To determine your eligibility, check the following definitions and then review the types of matters table below.
- An owner-driver is a natural person, a corporation or a partnership that carries on the business of transporting goods.
- An owner-driver contract is a contract which is entered into in the course of business by an owner-driver with another person for the transport of goods in a heavy vehicle by the owner-driver. An owner-driver contract does not include a contract that is a contract of employment.
- Hirer means a person who engages an owner-driver under an owner-driver contract.
- Inspector means an Industrial Inspector as defined in the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) section 7.
You can make an application to the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal if your matter falls within the below table:
Types of matters
Who can apply
|Disputes arising under or in relation to terms of an owner-driver contract
- A person who is a party to the owner-driver contract,
- a transport association in which a party to the owner-driver contract is eligible to be enrolled as a member; or
- an industrial inspector; or
- the Minister for Transport.
|Disputes arising under or in relation to the OD Act or the code of conduct, or involving an allegation that a person has contravened this Act or the code of conduct
- an owner-driver or hirer with a sufficient interest in the dispute; or
- a transport association; or
- except in a case involving an allegation that a person has contravened Part 6 - an inspector; or
- the Minister.
|Matters arising in relation to the conduct of joint negotiations for an owner-driver contract
- an owner-driver or hirer with a sufficient interest in the matter; or
- a transport association; or
- the Minister.
The table is also available in a separate file here.
Submitting an application
To start an application, you must fill in Form 7 – Referral to the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal, which may be lodged in the Registry of the Commission in person, by online lodgement, by email or by post.
After you have submitted your Form 7, the Commission’s Registry will:
- check it to make sure that it contains all the required information;
- if the form is complete, send a copy of it to you for your records; and
- serve a copy of it on the respondent. There is no need for you to serve your Form 7 on the respondent unless you are instructed to do so. You will then be contacted by the Tribunal to arrange to have your referral dealt with.
A person who is served a referral is required to file an answering statement. The time for service of the statement will be endorsed on the referral by the Registrar of the Commission. The form for the answering statement is Form 4 – Response (General).
Generally, the Respondent is to file an answering statement within 21 days of the date of service of the notice of referral, unless an ex parte application for a shortened time period is filed and such application is granted. When the Registrar receives the notice of referral, it will endorse on the notice of referral the time for lodging a response.
Conciliation is a conference conducted by the Commissioner who considers the case from both sides and can help the parties make a genuine effort to solve their dispute.
The Tribunal will in most cases commence proceedings by calling a compulsory conciliation conference and require nominated persons to attend.
The Tribunal may issue a summon to attend conciliation proceedings under section 45 of the Owner‑Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Act 2007 (WA).
In the context of Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal, it is common for the Tribunal to call for a compulsory conciliation conference at short notice if the matter is urgent. In this case, a person may be summoned to attend by oral communication, by email, by telephone or in writing. Such a conference can be called prior to the filing of an answering statement.
For more information please read the Commission’s conciliation conference fact sheet by clicking here.
Possible outcomes of the conference
- An agreement may be reached during or after the conference.
- If an agreement is not reached, The Tribunal may hold further conferences depending on the circumstances, or list the matter for hearing.
What is a Hearing
A hearing is where the Tribunal receives arguments and evidence from both parties and makes a binding decision on a matter. It usually takes place in a room that is similar to a court room. There are two types of hearings: interlocutory or preliminary hearings and substantive hearings.
Interlocutory or preliminary hearings
There may be issues that have to be determined by the Commission before the merits or substance of an application can be dealt with. These preliminary (or interlocutory) matters may relate to an issue with the employee’s claim that needs to be resolved before the rest of the matter can proceed, such as an application for discovery of documents.
Some examples of preliminary issues include:
- whether the Commission has jurisdiction to deal with the application;
- whether the employee is under the salary cap; or
- whether the Commission can accept an application that was made out of time.
There may be one or more interlocutory hearings before the substantive hearing to deal with preliminary or procedural issues.
A Directions hearing is similar to a preliminary hearing, it is where the Commission will set out how the matter will progress. This can include setting out a timeline for when things ought to occur such as discovery, or when things are to be filed with the Commission, such as outlines of submissions or witness statements.
A substantive hearing is where the Commission hears and determines the substance or merits of the employment or industrial issues in dispute.
For more information please read the Commission’s hearing fact sheet by clicking here.
For information on evidence, please read the Commission’s evidence fact sheet by clicking here.
For information on representation and representing yourself, please read the Commission’s representation fact sheet by clicking here.
According to s 48 of the Owner‑Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Act 2007 (WA), if the Tribunal arbitrates a dispute it may:
(a) order the payment of a sum of money —
(i) found by the Tribunal to be owing by one party to another party; or
(ii) by way of damages (including exemplary damages and damages in the nature of interest); or
(iii) by way of restitution;
(b) order the refund of any money paid under an owner-driver contract;
(c) make an order in the nature of an order for specific performance of an owner-driver contract;
(d) declare that a debt is, or is not, owing;
(e) order a party to do, or to refrain from doing, something;
(f) make any other order it considers fair, including declaring void any unjust term of an owner-driver contract.
In making an order under s 48(4), the Tribunal cannot —
(a) insert a term into; or
(b) subject to subsection (4)(f), otherwise vary, an owner-driver contract.
In making a determination, the Tribunal must endeavour to ensure that the matter is resolved taking into account any agreement reached by the parties on any particular issue and on terms that could reasonably have been agreed between the parties in the first instance or by conciliation. The Tribunal may also make orders to prevent persons from entering into owner-driver contracts.