Modernised heavy vehicle access – backed by the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government, to slash agricultural industry red tape and boost business efficiencies – are a significant step closer to reality.
This positive advancement will simplify and enhance the farm sector’s business operations and comes after policy agreement was reached recently between the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and participating States and Territories.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said local governments throughout the nation are now being asked to support the draft National Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Notice (Notice), to formally implement the changes and update standards.
Mr McCormack said the Notice will remove red tape that’s built-up over the past 50 years by; reducing the current number of designated agricultural zones; reducing the complexity for cross-border movements; improving agricultural operations across farms; and providing increased support for drought-affected communities.
“This is exactly the type of common sense decision-making our Government stands for, to make life easier for our farmers and others involved in agriculture, and ensure they can do business more efficiently,” Mr McCormack said.
“This is an important breakthrough for the agricultural industry – delivering an agreement to use a modernised and simplified set of standards for moving agricultural combinations on public roads.
“Some of the existing laws around the movement of agricultural combinations date back almost 40 years and require updating.
“Some of the key provisions of the new Notice include; standard dimension and mass allowances; consistent cotton harvester movement in Queensland and NSW; and standard piloting requirements.”
Some of the more common heavy vehicle agricultural combinations include cane trailers, silage trailers, harvesters and tractors.
Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport, Scott Buchholz, said he looked forward to local governments supporting the Notice to remove outdated red tape that’s restricting heavy vehicle movements and weighing-down the agricultural industry.
“We’ve already cut red tape to make it easier for urgently needed hay to reach drought stricken farmers at a time of need,” Mr Buchholz said.
“These new changes will make it simpler and easier for farmers who often only have to travel short distances on roads to move agricultural equipment as part of their regular work routine.
“It’s another example of the Coalition Government’s commitment to regional Australia, particularly those on the land.”
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the NHVR would now work with local road managers to finalise the notice.
“As most agricultural combinations move on local government controlled roads, the Notice will now be put to local councils for their feedback,” Mr Petroccitto said.
The development of the Notice was based on research conducted by AustRoads on current and future agricultural vehicles.
It has taken almost two years to reach agreement between the State road managers and representatives of the agricultural industry, including the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF).
NFF President Fiona Simson said her group welcomes progress towards the Notice and while more needs to be done to harmonise these rules, the current draft Notice represents a step forward.
“NFF appreciates the Commonwealth Government’s efforts to progress these discussions,” Ms Simson said.
“We will continue to work with state and territory governments to remove the red tape tying up farmers wanting to move ag vehicles on public roads.”