Load rules re­laxed

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

Large trucks car­ry­ing fod­der and hay to drought­stricken farm­ers will no longer be stopped at state borders.

Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son said the ‘‘com­mon sense’’ re­lax­ation of road trans­port rules to in­crease and stan­dard­ise load di­men­sions would bring re­lief to strug­gling farm­ers.

‘‘We want them to keep on truck­ing all the way and not get caught up by un­nec­es­sary red tape,’’ Mr Mor­ri­son said at Roy­alla in NSW on Thurs­day.

‘‘Com­mon sense must pre­vail.’’

The prob­lem arises when com­pressed hay starts to ex­pand on long jour­neys and be­comes non-com­pli­ant with state reg­u­la­tions.

Heavy trucks up to 4.6 m high at 2.83 m wide will no longer re­quire per­mits to ac­cess state roads, push­ing the di­men­sions out by about 30 cm.

The change will re­move the need for up to 6000 per­mits a year by har­mon­is­ing road rules across Queens­land, NSW, Vic­to­ria and South Aus­tralia.

‘‘Con­sis­tency across states is par­tic­u­larly cru­cial at the mo­ment as hay is be­ing trans­ported across borders to drought-af­fected farm­ers,’’ Na­tional Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Fiona Sim­son said.

‘‘Un­til now, dif­fer­ences in di­men­sions had thrown a span­ner in the works, with trans­porters caught out by dif­fer­ent di­men­sion lim­its in dif­fer­ent states.’’

The VFF has wel­comed the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s move.

‘‘We hope this is the first step to­wards a har­monised na­tional hay cart­ing no­tice, which will ul­ti­mately lead to in­creased ac­cess and ef­fi­ciency for all kinds of heavy ve­hi­cles on Vic­to­rian roads,’’ VFF grains pres­i­dent Ross Johns said.

‘‘We have seen too many hay de­liv­er­ies to farm­ers bat­tling dry con­di­tions held up at state borders be­cause of ex­ces­sive red tape and bu­reau­cracy,’’ Mr Johns said.

‘‘Farm­ers have been calling out for mea­sures which make it eas­ier for hay and fod­der to reach farm­ers in need, and the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment should be con­grat­u­lated for lis­ten­ing and act­ing.’’

Good news . . . A re­lax­ation of road trans­port rules to in­crease and stan­dard­ise load di­men­sions for those run­ning fod­der and hay has been wel­comed by the in­dus­try.Pic­ture: AAP Im­age/David Mar­iuz

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