In a win for farmers and industry, a new National Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Notice is now in place, removing the need to apply for permits when moving agricultural machinery and combinations on public roads across the majority of regional Australia.
In force as of today, the notice applies to five zones across the country, down from the previous 26, with maximum machinery dimensions defined for each zone, cutting red tape and complexity for operators.
Ultimately harmonising the states and generally aligning with the Victorian notice of exemption released last year, the national arrangement will ensure mass and dimension limits and operating conditions are the same across Australia, while reducing duplication and inconsistencies across state and territory borders.
The notice also introduces vehicle standards and operating conditions aimed at improving road safety. This includes conditions relating to maximum operating speed, setting a maximum mass and dimension limit, vehicle standards that meet the Australian Design Rules, warning signs and lights, and pilot and escort requirements.
Speaking at the press club, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the government was investing a record $100 billion in roads, transport and infrastructure.
"I'm proud to announce that after extensive consultation with councils and states, the national class one vehicle and combination notice comes into effect today," he said.
"Farmers have been asking for it. We have delivered. Some of the key provisions of the new notice include increased mass limits, standard operating convenience and a consistent set of rules across state and territory borders."
Harmonisation between states has been on the cards for some time, with industry groups such as GrainGrowers, National Farmers Federation and the Tractor and Machinery Association pushing for change.
Increases in average machinery size, operations with multiple farms and productivity losses due to permit delays have all been drivers ;for the overhaul.
GrainGrowers CEO David McKeon said he welcomes and supports the announcement of the initiative.
"After more than two years of negotiation with industry, and state and local road managers, the new notice will enable farmers to move most of their equipment without a permit," he said.
"With the sowing of winter crops underway, the timing of this notice could not be better. We are pleased to see a genuine, common-sense approach realised."
Mr McKeon said the notice represented a genuine reduction in red tape and answers the call of one of GrainGrowers' key election platform priorities, calling for improved access for agricultural machinery on roads.
For more details on the notice visit the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website.