Rates for Owner-Drivers


After 3 years of debate and conciliation:

  • a revised General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD) was handed down by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, finalising new transport industry rates and conditions under employment law
  • this follows an interim decision in April 2016 to “provide fair and reasonable conditions for owner-drivers and contractors”, updating and geographically expanding ‘contracts of carriage’ which were reviewed for the first time since 1984
  • while the GCCD previously applied to Greater Sydney and Cumberland, it has now been expanded to cover a new freight corridor for single trips commencing in Sydney and finishing close to either Wollongong or Newcastle
  • the GCCD also now covers areas such as refrigerated transport and furniture trucks, the ability for employees to negotiate guaranteed hours with employers and a 2.5% increase in standing rates from April 2017
  • a new comprehensive employment law rate schedule is to be phased in over a number of years from 2019
  • the GCCD applies to sole traders, companies and family businesses when family members are driving
  • owner drivers in other sectors (such as concrete and car carriers, couriers, tip trucks and quarries) have their own separate determinations
  • the GCCD does not apply to livestock and most primary produce carriers


The Transport Workers Union NSW branch secretary Richard Olsen said the new determination under employment law provides fair rates and conditions for drivers, enabling them to maintain their vehicles, keep their businesses going and pay themselves a wage.

Commissioner Newall commented, in handing down the decision, that the increased scope of the determination was conservative, providing fair and reasonable arrangements for both principal contractors and contract carriers, but windfalls for none.

Tips for Principal Contractors

Our Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team recommends:

Firstly, be aware of and speak to an employment lawyer about your obligations pursuant to recent changes to the GCCD including:

  • to provide a copy of the GCCD within 7 days to the owner driver
  • to provide payment for expenses relating to any compulsory signage or uniforms
  • to keep records of all start and finish times, distance travelled, rosters, contracts, safe driving plans and fatigue management plans

Secondly, consult an employment lawyer in relation to:

  • applicable rates for owner drivers within and outside of the Sydney metro area
  • obtaining more specialist advice/guidance about the GCCD

More Information

Please call the leading employment lawyers in Parramatta, the Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team on 9635-7966 to speak with one of our employment lawyers.