Australia, Transport News

ATA warns on unfair contract terms following potential $50 million fines

The ATA says the ACCC is warning companies to review its contracts as massive penalties are set to loom in the coming weeks

In its weekly Friday Facts newsletter, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has advised businesses to review their standard form contracts and remove or amend any unfair contract terms before new penalties take effect.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned that these penalties will sting companies not following these correct contract terms.

From November 9 this year, changes to the Australian Consumer Law will prevent businesses from proposing, using or relying on unfair contract terms in standard form contracts with consumers and businesses that employ fewer than 100 people or have an annual turnover of less than $10 million.

These changes mean courts can impose substantial penalties on businesses and individuals who include unfair terms in their standard form contracts, with the maximum penalty for a business being $50 million.

The ATA says the separate closing loopholes bill would enable the Fair Work Commission to resolve distract disputes involving independent contractors, such as owner-drivers.

Under the bill, independent contractors or an organisation representing their industrial interests could apply to the commission for help on the grounds that a term in a contract was unfair.

The ATA says the commission could order a solution if it’s satisfied that the contract included unfair contract terms that would relate to workplace relations matters.

The new power from the commission is expected to start on July 1 next year.

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