CONFUSION surrounding whether restricted primary producer vehicles will remain exempt from annual roadworthy inspections has caused concerns for farmers.
The uncertainty comes after it was announced in December that the roadworthiness of SA’s trucks would come under closer scrutiny, due to the new phase of the heavy vehicle inspection scheme.
Following this, SA Best called for a review of annual roadworthy inspections on restricted primary producers vehicles.
But, a government spokesperson said there was no need for a review, as these vehicles were exempt from the inspections.
“The guidelines clearly state that vehicles already registered under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme, restricted primary producers or transport club and certain special purpose vehicles will be exempt,” they said.
“The guidelines also clearly state that vehicles registered under seasonal registration will also be exempt, such as vehicles used only for harvest.”
SA Best candidate for Hammond Kelly Gladigau said the call for a review was made after she and fellow candidates received concerned calls from farmers on the matter and they were seeking clarity from the government.
“We need transparency for farmers and this information needed to be put out and explained,” she said.
“I was inundated with calls from farmers, asking questions about it. It was causing people unwarranted stress.”
Jabuk farmer Ian Farley said it was important all political parties pledged that annual roadworthy inspections would never be imposed on restricted primary producers’ vehicles.
He was concerned that wording on a Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure fact sheet outlining details on the heavy vehicle inspection scheme stated the exemptions were in place “at this time”.
“All parties need a policy on this, because it is causing a lot of angst,” he said.
“A lot of farm-to-farm vehicles are only doing a few kilometres a year. If you’ve got a truck that’s only doing 20km/year, or even 1000km/year, it wouldn’t need the same level of inspection as a truck doing a lot of kms.”
Mr Farley said it was important to ensure farmers were not burdened with extra costs in the future.
“We’re already being slugged with excessive emergency service levy bills, as well as being lumbered with excessive council rates with minimal services,” he said.
“The farming community can’t continually keep absorbing extra costs. We need common sense to prevail.”
Mr Farley said with many farms being family businesses, producers made sure their vehicles were safe to use.
“I wouldn’t let anyone in my family that was working on the farm drive a truck that was unsafe or unroadworthy,” he said.
Mr Farley said any focus on increasing road safety should include upgrades to SA’s roads.
“The roads in this state are a disgrace,” he said.
Liberals want distance extension
OPPOSITION agriculture spokesperson David Ridgway says the idea of annual inspections for farm-to-farm vehicles would never be entertained by a Liberal government.
But he would like to see one aspect of farm-to-farm registrations explored.
At the moment all heavy farm vehicles registered under restricted primary producer registration are allowed to travel for up to 30 kilometres.
Mr Ridgway said while this might suit some farmers, it may not be enough for others.
“It depends on where farmers are located,” he said.
“For a farmer from Mount Gambier, 30 kilometres is probably plenty, but for someone on the far West Coast, they may need travel further.
“I can’t see a problem with that, as long as they’re not travelling down major roads.”
Mr Ridgway said it was concerning that incorrect information had been put out about the status of farm-to-farm vehicles.
This is a view shared by Australian Conservatives MLC Robert Brokenshire.
“I have had people contacting me to see what is going on,” he said.
Mr Brokenshire said the confusion unduly scared a lot of country people.
He also said it had the potential to undo good work done by the state’s grower representative group.
“Primary Producers SA has been working hard to have exemptions from annual inspections put in place for farm-to-farm vehicles,” he said.