Machinery movement rules prepare for shift

Machinery movement rules prepare for shift


Machinery
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A NATIONAL approach to moving agricultural heavy vehicles is being touted as removing the need for permits for most heavy vehicles.

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A NATIONAL approach to moving agricultural heavy vehicles is being touted as removing the need for permits for most heavy vehicles.

The National Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Mass and Dimension Exemption Notice 2019 was put in place at the start of the month, replacing existing access arrangements across all states.

It has reduced the number of zones across the country from 26 to five, with machinery dimensions defined for each zone. This has reduced differences across state borders.

Vehicles not covered by the notice, due to size, may still be able to travel on roads after a permit is obtained.

Grain Producers SA regional field officer Shane Gale said farmers would need time to catch up on some of the changes and understand new road access rules, but said it was important everyone in the rural and regional community was wholly better off as a result.

He said there were obvious benefits for some producers.

"The new notice provides access for longer combinations up to 35 metres in the former zone 4 (which covers most of SA's agricultural areas) and therefore permits will not necessarily be required, provided they meet the mass limits specified in the new notice," he said.

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For the next 12 months, SA producers can continue to use the existing system, or adopt the new system but are unable to adopt different facets of each.

But Mr Gale warned not all SA council road managers had approved the changes yet.

According to the NHVR website, approval remains pending from two Eyre Peninsula local government areas, along with councils in the Far North, Mid North, Riverland, Murraylands and Adelaide Hills.

EP farmer and farm safety consultant Karen Baines said the new notice would include some big changes for SA producers and more work would be needed in the next 12 months.

"There are some new things that maybe those in the eastern states were doing that maybe we weren't," Ms Baines said.

She said the need to work out tow mass ratios was new, while piloting requirements also looked likely to change in SA.

Ms Baines said national harmonisation would have benefits along borders but she would have preferred to have seen the zones reassessed in a different manner.

"At the moment the rules are the same in the Barossa Valley as they are for the EP," she said. "But if someone did risk assessments for the Barossa, with tourism and road use, it would be vastly different to the EP."

Ms Baines said she had some contact with the NHVR and found it was receptive to feedback about the changes and urged people with concerns to speak to GPSA.

She did welcome the updating of allowable dimensions for farm machinery on roads.

"Farming has changed and our codes have been out-of-date for years," she said.

"Our machinery is ever-evolving and our laws need to keep up with that and let us do our jobs."

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