ATA will develop contract checklists to right deals

Signing up to flawed deals can lead to compliance shortfalls down the track, lobby warns

ATA will develop contract checklists to right deals
Bad payment terms are a serious risk to cashflow.


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is moving to help firms deal with the imbalance of power with larger customers.

The ATA will develop guidance for trucking operators and their customers to help ensure contracts are fair and meet all legal requirements.

The decision responds to the lengthening payment terms faced by many trucking businesses, as well as concerns that many smaller trucking businesses feel they lack the power to negotiate balanced contracts with their customers.

CEO Christopher Melham says these factors meant that some small trucking operators found themselves signing whatever is required to get a job, without being in a position to weigh up what that contract could mean for the financial and operational aspects of their business.

"We know there’s sometimes a perception in trucking that if the wheels are turning, you’re all good," Melham says.

"But failing to examine the terms of a contract can lead to businesses taking on risks that should belong to customers, signing contracts with flawed chain of responsibility stipulations, or accepting payment terms they don’t have the cash flow to support.

"The ATA will develop a best-practice checklist for trucking industry contracts, which will be launched at Trucking Australia 2016."

The checklist and guidance material will be available exclusively to members of ATA member associations.

Businesses will be able to use the material as they consider appropriate: they will not be required to use it.

"With information like this, there’s never been a better time to join an ATA member association and get a valuable range of member services," Melham says.

To develop the checklist, the ATA will ask trucking operators to nominate the contract areas that they find especially problematic.

The ATA will also establish a new business standards reference group to provide detailed advice on contract and commercial practices in the industry.

The ATA will also lobby the Australian Government to improve the availability of information about the RSRT and ACCC requirements for trucking operators, including the requirements of the unfair contracts legislation that will come into effect next year.


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