Fed-up farmers, doctors, surgeons, farm safety experts and rural community members will deliver an ultimatum to the Government in Canberra this week: take action on quad bike safety or more lives will be lost.
Unbelievably, the Government continues to stall on implementing recommendations to improve the safety of the popular but dangerous farm vehicle.
Led by the NFF, today and tomorrow, the group will continue its call for the adoption of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s recommendation to mandate the fitting of Operator Protection Devices (OPDs) to all new quad bikes with 24 months.
“Already this year, seven Australians, including children have lost their lives in quad bike incidents,” NFF Workforce Committee Chair, Farm Safe Chair and NSW farmer, Charles Armstrong said.
More than half of the deaths caused by quad bikes are a result of a rollover, often by crushing or asphyxiation, which OPDs prevent.
“Deaths and life-altering injuries from quad bikes continue to cut at the heart of rural and regional communities.
“The Government has the opportunity right now, to stem these incidents, but for reasons which aren’t clear to us, has failed to act.”
Mr Armstrong said the group would meet with politicians across the spectrum to explain the ACCC’s recommendations and how the fitting of OPDs would greatly reduce the potential for harm from quad bike rollovers.
“From our varied perspectives – farmers who have had near misses in quad bike rollovers to surgeons who continue to operate on crash victims, we will be reiterating the transformational safety benefit mandatory OPDs can deliver.”
Mr Armstrong said the Government could mandate the fitting of OPDs by the making of a ‘declaration’ and that new or amended legislation was not required.
“In our discussions, with the Opposition and crossbenchers, we hope to apply pressure to, to date what has been a disinterested Government on this issue.
“There is no more important priority for the bush than the safety and wellbeing of our people.
“We expect our Government to support us in protecting them. We don’t think it’s too much to ask,” Mr Armstrong said.
The delegation includes representatives of the National Farmers Federation, Farm Safe, Country Women’s Association of NSW, Royal College of Surgeons and the University of Sydney.