Timber contractors: Worker or contractor?

Understand whether timber contractors are considered workers for the purposes of WorkSafe.


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Timber contractors

A timber contractor is an individual who is engaged by a hirer and agrees to undertake all or any of the following activities under a timber contract:

  • fell trees and deliver the timber to the hirer;
  • cut firewood and deliver the firewood to the hirer;
  • fell trees or cut shrub on land of which the hirer is the occupier;
  • clear stumps or logs from land of which the hirer is the occupier;
  • remove stumps or logs, whether by loading them onto a vehicle or otherwise.

A timber contractor is a worker of a hirer where they:

  • are engaged in the course of or for the purposes of a trade or business undertaken by the hirer;
  • are a natural person or a partner in a partnership; and
  • agree to undertake work for the hirer under a timber contract.

A timber contractor is not a worker where the timber contractor:

  • subcontracts the timber contract in its entirety;
  • does not personally perform any work under the timber contract and employs or engages persons to perform all of the work under the timber contract; or
  • is a partner in a partnership of two or more individuals and no part of the work under the timber contract is performed personally by any member of the partnership.

Where a timber contractor is taken to be a worker, the amount paid or payable by the hirer to the timber contractor for the performance of work, less the applicable standard deduction, is considered to be remuneration for WorkCover insurance premium purposes.

If a timber contractor working as a tree feller provides his or her own materials or equipment, and does not purchase such materials or equipment from the hirer, a standard deduction of 25% is applicable where the total amount paid by the hirer includes amounts in respect of those materials or that equipment.