Changes to truck laws hit farm­ers

Western Times - - NEWS - — Kath Sul­li­van

FARM­ERS could be fined up to half a mil­lion dol­lars if an un­road­wor­thy truck en­ters their prop­erty un­der “dra­co­nian and un­fair” changes to safety laws.

Un­der the new laws, farm­ers could be li­able if a truck driver is sleepy, or ex­ceeds the speed limit on its way to or leav­ing a prop­erty.

Farm lobby groups have re­ported the Heavy Ve­hi­cle Na­tional Law changes, to be in­tro­duced in Queens­land on July 1, will mean any farmer re­ceiv­ing or load­ing a ve­hi­cle weigh­ing 4.5 tonnes – the equiv­a­lent of a small truck – could be found li­able for safety breaches.

But farm groups said the sec­tor is ill-pre­pared for re­spon­si­bil­ity changes and have called for a sim­pli­fied ex­pla­na­tion of how farm­ers will be af­fected.

The Na­tional Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion said the changes would have “mas­sive im­pli­ca­tions”.

NFF eco­nom­ics and farm busi­ness com­mit­tee chair­man Wayne Dun­ford said “there wouldn’t be a farmer not im­pli­cated” by the new rules.

“It’s open­ing up a Pan­dora’s box, and the sad thing is not many farm­ers know about it,” Mr Dun­ford said.

He said un­der the changes, “be­fore you load a truck, you’ve got to know it’s road­wor­thy – now that’s not a farmer’s job... farm­ers aren’t com­pli­ance of­fi­cers”.

“If a truck comes up the drive­way – just like a car – you ex­pect it’s reg­is­tered and road­wor­thy. Farm­ers have no con­trol over that.”

A spokesman for Trans­port Min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce said “the amended laws main­tain ex­ist­ing chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity safety re­quire­ments, but are bet­ter aligned with Work­place Health and Safety laws, which re­quire all busi­nesses to take a proac­tive ap­proach to heavy ve­hi­cle safety.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.