Experts discuss legal impact of workplace and COR laws

By: Anjali Behl

CTAA event an opportunity for industry members to discuss contractor management strategies

Experts discuss legal impact of workplace and COR laws
Chambers talked about the implications of the updated COR rules.


Discussion on legal aspects around contractor management was high on the agenda at the Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) Conference in Melbourne yesterday.

The full-day day event saw presentations from industry experts and government representatives, who discussed the risks, obligations and best strategies for contractor management.

Victorian Small Business Commissioner (VSBC) Judy O’Connell, who presented the opening address, and VSBC senior manager David Hildebrand discussed the parameters of the Victorian Owner Driver Legislation and the role played by the small business commission.

Hildebrand outlined the details of the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors (ODFC) Act 2005 and what it means for transport businesses covered by the legislation.

Holding Redlich partner Charles Power's presentation focused on the impact of workplace relations laws.

Power discussed how the existing Workplace Relations Act 1996 ensures compliance with minimum standards, industrial instruments and bargaining processes through effective investigation and enforcement of employee entitlements, and the rights and obligations of both employers and employees.

The Act provides economically sustainable safety net of minimum wages and conditions for employees, as a result employers found flouting the rules and their obligations could face serious consequences, Power noted.

Continuing on the legal theme, WorkSafe Victoria regional director Ian Matthews and premium compliance principal manager Andrew Cornell talked about workplace safety and workers’ compensation.

Mathews said operators should be aware of the risks associated with delinquency in workplace safety and how accidents can potentially result in huge penalties and compensation claims.

Later, CTAA director Neil Chambers discussed the implications of the upcoming changes to chain of responsibility (COR) obligations, including financial costs and reputational damage to a business found in breach of the COR rules.

Chambers cited the recent Remondis case as an example to highlight the size of penalties that can result in negligence of COR duties.

The post-lunch session included presentations from technology providers and legal experts including:

  • TransCheck founder Denise Zumpe, who launched a new app for the management of sub-contacted drivers
  • Teletrac Navman’s Transtech regulatory program and partner manager Anthony Laras, who discussed the benefits of use of technology to manage driver network and route adherence through Transtech
  • WorkPro national sales manager Aaron Rudd, who talked about the importance of effective inductions, background screening and licence checking
  • ContractRight MD Neil Fairley, who discussed a systematic approach to contractor management.

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