Heavy vehicle regulation across Australia is complex, inconsistent and threatens to place a handbrake on our 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.
Currently, the rules governing farmers’ road access vary between states and even local government areas. 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.
The last thing any farmer would want is to cause harm to another member of their community on the road. That’s why we fully support all reasonable steps to ensure equipment is moved safely, and driven responsibly.
In September this year, 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.
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.
Having a single national notice would improve both compliance and road safety.
But this outcome isn’t a given, farmers need to make their voice heard.
How you can help
You can help support fit-for-purpose road regulations that let our farmers get on with the business of growing the world’s best food and fibre.
Together, let’s support a better framework for moving farm machinery. One that: reduces red tape; boosts productivity; and creates safer roads for everyone.