The onus is on local councils to sign up to the federal government’s push to harmonise heavy vehicle road access for agricultural vehicles as South Australia, Victoria, NSW, Queensland, and the ACT sign up.
The reform is aimed at harmonising regulations across local, state and federal jurisdictions under the National Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Notice, to cut red tape and reduce costs to farmers.
With the federal and state governments now in agreement, the initiative needs local councils to sign on to bring new regulations into effect.
Heavy vehicle agricultural combinations that would be captured by the scheme include cane trailers, silage trailers, harvesters and tractors.
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
“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,” Mr McCormack said.
“Some of the existing laws around the movement of agricultural combinations date back almost 40 years and require updating.
“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.”
National Heavy Vehicle Regulator chief executive Sal Petroccitto said the his organisation 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.
Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport, Scott Buchholz said the reform would 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,” Mr Bucholz said.
National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said welcomed the initiative.
“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.”