New farming era: more ag red tape to be cut

Local councils are urged to get on board with a shake-up for the movement of agricultural machinery across the road network, which will be a game-changer for the nation’s farm businesses.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is seeking agreement from councils and road managers on the new draft National Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Notice.

The Notice will harmonise state-based notices into a single national notice and update standards to make life easier for farmers, enabling them to move the majority of their equipment between farms and ensuring they can do business more efficiently.

It will provide farmers with mass and dimension exemptions, reduce the current number of designated agricultural zones to allow travel for larger equipment such as grain harvesters, simplify cross-border movements and improve operations across farms.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said working with councils was key to ensuring the success of a single national notice.

“Most heavy agricultural equipment, such as harvesters, tractors and seeders, are moved on local government-controlled roads and the NHVR is working with local councils and road managers to finalise the Notice,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Liberals and Nationals Government is determined to make it easier for our farmers to do business and a single national notice will mean our farmers can do what they do best without being bogged down in paperwork.”

Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport Scott Buchholz said moving heavy agricultural equipment on public roads had become too complicated.

“Some of the existing standards date back almost 40 years and it’s time to bring them into line with the modern and dynamic practises of today’s farmers,” Mr Buchholz said.

“This is another example of welcome common-sense policy from the Liberal and Nationals Government after last year, making it easier for urgently needed hay to reach drought stricken areas in their time of need, and this Notice is yet another example of the our ongoing commitment to backing our farmers and regional Australia.”

The NHVR will be seeking approval from around 430 road managers and conducting workshops to provide information and help key stakeholders to understand the changes.

Consultations will be held from 8 March to 5 April 2019.

The NHVR will be contacting all local government and road managers to inform them about the Notice and the approval process.

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