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NatRoad praises unfair contracts bill passing into law

NatRoad says a recent contracts bill passing into law shows the pendulum is swinging towards operators

The passing of unfair contracts legislation into law this week is good news for the road transport industry, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) says.

CEO Warren Clark says NatRoad is pleased that the Treasury Laws Amendment (More Competition, Better Prices) Bill 2022 has been given Royal Assent.

“It has been a long road and this sends a clear message to big corporations that the pendulum has swung back to small operators,” Clark says.

The new law prohibits the use of unfair contract terms in a standard form consumer or small business contract and creates new civil penalties for anyone trying to do otherwise.

It also gives courts more power to make orders to void, vary or refuse to enforce part or all of a contract, and it will expand the class of contracts that the law applies to.

“The changes aren’t perfect and the new law won’t take effect for 12 months to give businesses the chance to adjust,” Clark says.


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“There are still nuances in the law that operators will need to take into account and we are urging our members to seek advice if they have questions.

“But we are in a much better place than we were a year ago and we are grateful that the federal government brought on the legislation.”

Clark says a contract NatRoad has seen required the operator to find a five percent “productivity” saving each year during the term of the contract. The operator’s tenure could be ended, without cause, on a month’s notice, but the contract is for a five-year term. 

“That’s one example of an onerous and one-sided contract that we hope will be extinct as the law comes into effect,” Clark says.

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