What is a forestry contractor?
Under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 a forestry contractor is:
- someone that runs a business to harvest forest products using motorised equipment that they supply
- someone that runs a business to transport forest products. They supply the vehicles and operate at least one of them
The Act applies to contractors, not employees.
A forestry contractor can be a natural person, company (except a publicly listed company) or partnership.
Information booklet for forestry contractors
The Victorian Forestry Contractors Information Booklet is a practical resource to help forestry contractors to successfully operate a business. It covers:
- rights and obligations under the Owner Driver and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 and the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Code of Practice
- the role of Wage Inspectorate Victoria (WIV) as regulator
- guidance for running a successful small business
- other laws and regulations that apply to forestry
Hirers and freight brokers are required to give a forestry contractor a copy of the information booklet prior to hiring them in certain circumstances.
An updated version of the information booklet was published in February 2022 incorporating recent changes to the Act. These changes introduce penalties for hirers of contractors in the Victorian transport or forestry sector, who fail to comply with key provisions of the Act and outlining the role of Wage Inspectorate Victoria as the regulator of the Act.
Download a copy of the information booklet:
- Victorian Forestry Contractors Information Booklet (PDF 474.63 KB)
- Victorian Forestry Contractors Information Booklet | accessible version (DOCX 182.96 KB)
Understanding your business costs
Our forestry rates and costs schedules outline the typical operating costs of a forestry contractor business based on the type of vehicle or forestry equipment you operate. The schedules aim to help you to better understand your cost structures, and how increases and decreases in different cost items can affect profits.
Using written contracts
As a contractor, you have a right to require a written contract for ongoing engagements of no fixed duration or for a period of 30 days or more. The written contract must specify the minimum hours of work or income level you will receive and the rates to be paid. It should also state the minimum amount of notice to be given if the contract is terminated (this applies to engagements that are longer than 3 months).
Giving notice of termination
Generally, where there is an ongoing engagement of at least 3 months, forestry contractors and hirers must give a minimum period of notice of 3 months to end a contract.
There is no requirement to give notice if the hirer is ending the contract because of serious and wilful misconduct by the forestry contractor, or if the contractor is ending the contract because of a material breach by the hirer.
If the forestry contractor considers that the notice period is not needed, they can waive the requirement by obtaining a certificate from the Victorian Small Business Commission and then giving the hirer written notice.
A hirer can choose whether to give the minimum notice period or make a payment instead of notice. Failure by a hirer to comply with this requirement is an offence and penalties may apply.
Visit the hirers in transport and forestry page for more information.
Access to dispute resolution
Under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005, hirers and contractors can contact the Victorian Small Business Commission to arrange fast and low-cost alternative dispute resolution if disagreements arise. The dispute resolution process can be used for disputes arising under or in relation to the Act, the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Code of Practice or in relation to a contract.
Disputes that are not resolved by the Small Business Commission may be referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for determination.
Wage Inspectorate Victoria
Wage Inspectorate Victoria is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005.
Make a complaint
If you have a complaint relating to a transport or forestry contract engagement, you can report it using the Wage Inspectorate complaint form.
You also have the option to make an anonymous report if you suspect someone is breaking the rules relating to owner drivers or contractors but you don’t want to provide personal information.
Can’t find the information you need?
If you have any questions, Wage Inspectorate Victoria is available to provide information and answer queries. Please call the Wage Inspectorate Information Line on 1800 287 287 or email email@example.com