Already this year, seven Australians, including children, have lost their lives in quad bike accidents.
Despite the horrifying statistic, the Government is stalling on implementing the mandatory fitting of operator protection devices (OPDs) to all new quad bikes within two years.
Following an extensive inquiry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission made the recommendation to Government in February this year.
The change is made by the Assistant Treasurer signing off on a ‘declaration’ without the need to introduce new legislation. However to date, the Government has failed to take action.
“We are at a loss to understand why the Government won’t introduce this simple change to save lives,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.
“Since 2001 more than 230 Australians have died in quad bike related incidents. More than half of these deaths were a result of a quad bike rollover and crushing or asphyxiation, which OPDs prevent.
“Either the Government doesn’t think the many lives lost warrant taking action or there are other factors at play,” Ms Simson said.
The National Farmers’ Federation is supported in its call for quad bike safety changes by a coalition of regional and rural Australia’s most respected voices including: Rural Doctors Association of Australia; Royal Flying Doctor Service; National Rural Health Alliance; National Rural Women’s Coalition; Country Women’s Association of Australia; Australian Workers Union; National Centre for Farmer Health; AgForce; NSW Farmers; Victorian Farmers Federation; Primary Producers South Australia & WAFarmers.
“Right now, during National Farm Safety Week, Federal Parliament is sitting in Canberra,” Ms Simson said.
“The Government need do little more than tick a box, to see this change enacted.
“By not taking action, they may think they are responding to concerns about the supposed risks associated with OPDs and the impact on quad bike values.
“But these ‘concerns’ have been seeded by the manufacturers who are simply advancing their own interests. Not one of the ‘excuses’ advanced by the manufacturers withstand scrutiny or trump the risk of death and crippling injury.
“To not act on the advice of the ACCC and the calls from the many organisations speaking out today is a slap in the face to rural and regional Australia and our most important asset – our people.
“We are calling on the Government to step up and show leadership on what is an issue of the utmost seriousness,” Ms Simson said.