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New campaign calls for common sense on farm machinery movement red tape

8 November 2017

A National Farmers’ Federation-led (NFF) campaign is calling on Government to restore common sense to heavy farm machinery movement regulations.

NFF Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar said currently, heavy vehicle regulation across Australia was complex and inconsistent.

“The rules vary vastly from state to state and shire to shire and in many cases do not adequately recognise the needs of farm businesses.”

Mr Mahar said farmers recognised the need for regulation with safety their first priority.

“The last thing any farmer would want is to cause harm to another member of their community on the road.

“Farmers, their family and friends all travel country roads and we fully support all reasonable steps to ensure equipment is moved safely and responsibly.”

However, Mr Mahar said if the regulations applying to farm machinery were not modernised, they threatened to place a handbrake on the burgeoning farm sector.

“Larger, more efficient farm vehicles and machines play an important part in keeping Australia’s farmers competitive.

“Being able to move this equipment between properties is fundamental to the business of farming.”

The NFF is asking regional road users, through the Have your say on oversized road regulations campaign, to make the case for reform of agricultural machinery regulation.

In September, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) released an Issues Paper on national road access laws for agricultural machinery.

"The issues paper clearly outlines the problem: that current regulations do not take into account the nature of the agricultural fleet, nor the quick decisions farmers need to make when managing crops," Mr Mahar said.

To reduce red tape and improve clarity, the state governments that have signed up to the National Heavy Vehicle Law (Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania) have committed to developing a single agricultural notice, replacing the previous 14 different state notices.

Mr Mahar said having a single national notice would improve both compliance and road safety.

"Often, rules fail to strike a suitable balance between road safety and industry productivity.

"Impeding the movement of farm vehicles has a direct impact on food and fibre production.

"Farmers can miss a sowing window or lose a crop while waiting for a permit to move equipment," Mr Mahar said.

“To restore common sense, we're calling on regional roads users to help by calling for fit-for-purpose road regulations that let our farmers get on with the business of growing the world’s best food and fibre."

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