Tracking your fleet is an excellent way to ensure their safety and improve productivity, but do you know whether your business is complying with GPS tracking laws in Australia?
GPS tracking is one of the most impactful tools for fleet management for Australian businesses in 2023. According to the 2023 Fleet Technology Trends Report, an estimated 96% of fleets using GPS fleet tracking software gained significant benefits from its use, such as reductions in fuel costs, a decrease in accidents, and better vehicle utilisation rates.
However, when it comes to actually implementing GPS tracking in your business, you need to be aware of the legal limitations and requirements to do so in Australia before you can start tracking company vehicles.
In this article, we’ll highlight the various GPS tracking laws in Australia for each major state and territory, as well as how you can begin using it for improved fleet management.
Is tracking your employees with GPS legal in Australia?
In short, the answer is yes — you can track your delivery drivers and vehicle operators with GPS in Australia, but as we will highlight later on, you may need to ensure that the tracking is done under certain conditions.
The main thing to ensure is consent. Most states in Australia allow vehicle tracking businesses to operate under the condition that the employees operating the vehicle are aware of the tracking. Whether you’re using a comprehensive fleet management system or just a handful of trackers, it is advisable to always err on the side of caution and inform your teams about the tracking software you are using.
Australia’s GPS tracking laws for businesses
The laws surrounding GPS tracking in Australia are specific to each state, each having its own version of restrictions or requirements.
NSW GPS tracking laws
GPS tracking of employees in New South Wales falls under the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 No 47. This act regulates all forms of tracking surveillance, which includes electronic devices with GPS tracking capabilities. If you have any GPS tracking present in your trailers or fleet vehicles, you must not only inform employees who will operate these vehicles but also display a clear notice on the vehicle to indicate ongoing tracking.
This notification must include:
- The type of surveillance that is ongoing (camera, tracking, etc.)
- When the surveillance will commence and end
- How the surveillance is operated
- If the surveillance is continuous or occurs from time to time
QLD GPS tracking laws
If you are looking to track your company vehicles in Queensland, you won’t have to worry about any laws at the moment. Currently, there is no legal requirement for GPS tracking in QLD, but this could change in future. To protect your business from future changes to GPS laws, we recommend informing your employees of the tracking regardless of the lack of current legislation.
ACT GPS tracking laws
Laws regarding the use of GPS tracking in vehicles in the Australian Capital Territory are very similar to those in NSW and are regulated by the Workplace Privacy Act 2011. They state that you must notify employees ahead of time about the tracking, as well as provide them with information about the type, period, and frequency of tracking.
WA GPS tracking laws
The Surveillance Devices Act 1998 is what you’ll have to keep in mind if you’re based in Western Australia. Tracking your employees when they operate company vehicles is allowed in WA, but only when consent is given from your employees —not just a notification. Tracking employees who have not given permission to be tracked can result in serious repercussions for your business: up to $50,000 in fines for companies, and personal fines of $5000 and/or up to 12 months of jail.
NT GPS tracking laws
In the Northern Territory, GPS tracking laws for businesses are largely similar to those in ACT and NSW. The Surveillance Devices Act 2007 states that illegally tracking employees (without consent or notification) carries a penalty of up to 2 years in jail.
VIC GPS tracking laws
Tracking your business’ vehicles in Victoria is allowed, but again, only when you’ve informed the involved employees and gotten their consent prior to the tracking activity. Fail to do so, and the Surveillance Devices Act 1999 states that your business may face 1200 penalty units ($230,772.00), or a maximum of 2 years in prison and/or a level 7 fine ($39,652.80).
SA GPS tracking laws
South Australia’s laws for GPS tracking fall under the Surveillance Devices Act 2016. Under this act, any tracking devices you use for the purpose of recording the location of your vehicles must be made known and have the consent of the employee operating or travelling with them.
Using vehicle tracking for your business
A comprehensive fleet tracking system can significantly boost your fleet management capabilities, but it can also be a source of costly fines if not handled properly. When it comes to using GPS tracking for your fleet, be sure to check that you have fulfilled the necessary state requirements that we’ve outlined above.
Here are some handy tips for making sure that your business complies with the local GPS tracking laws:
- Set up a reminder system for you or your fleet administrators — Keeping the legal requirement for GPS tracking at the forefront of your operations is a good way to avoid missing them, especially when things get busy. Set reminders to keep yourself or your team aware of what needs to be done.
- Include tracking information and notices in company policies — A simple change or update to your business’s policies adds an additional layer of legal security.
- Communicate with your teams — Being transparent and open about your use of GPS tracking instead of hiding it can establish trust and better working relationships with your employees.
That’s all we have for the GPS tracking laws in Australia. If you would like to better understand the legalities of tracking your company vehicles, speak with our team at Netstar Australia.
As a trusted provider of fleet telematics all across Australia, we can help show you the impact that GPS tracking can have on your business’s operations and productivity. Contact us for a free quote today!