IMPROVING road safety and making compliance easier for primary producers is the goal of a new ag machinery movement project led by Grain Producers SA.
Representatives from primary production, machinery retail, logistics and government have contributed to the formation of the Moving Ag Machinery ... Made Easy! project.
The project will gather feedback from across the commodity spectrum to inform improvements, training and resources aimed at primary producers who access the NHVR Portal for permits.
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said improving safety and productivity for those working in the agricultural industry was vital to ensure essential commodities could be delivered safely across the country.
"Our commitment to investing in road safety initiatives like Moving Ag Machinery ... Made Easy! ensures the agricultural industry keeps moving and the economy keeps growing," he said.
"Agricultural machinery is often bigger and slower than traditional heavy vehicles, so it's important to understand the limitations and complexities of these vehicles when they're travelling on the road.
"We don't have all the answers, which is why it's crucial to hear from those at the coalface so genuine and tangible improvements can be made for the sector and all road users."
SA Infrastructure and Transport Minister Corey Wingard said providing safety and transport solutions was integral to SA's growing agribusiness sector.
"Keeping South Australia's agriculture industry moving is vital," he said.
"This project will provide a clear picture of farm-to-farm movement and amplify the voices of primary producers on their concerns and ideas for safer road access.
"To all farmers throughout the state - have your say in improving road safety."
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GPSA regional field officer Shane Gale will manage the project and said it had the potential to help in the development of similar initiatives nationally.
"As farms increase in scale, so too does the size of machinery," he said.
"This presents issues for not only motorists unfamiliar with slow moving agricultural machinery but also for machinery dealers and producers if they cannot access the appropriate exemptions to operate that machinery on public roads in a timely manner.
"With this project, we want to know what issues producers have in understanding the South Australia Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle Mass and Dimension Exemption Notice and, if their machinery falls outside of the notice, educate them on accessing the relevant permit through the NHVR Portal.
"It will also be an important feedback mechanism for all levels of government to understand the issues facing everyone moving agricultural vehicles and combinations to meet statutory requirements."
A steering committee made of representatives from NHVR, GPSA, PPSA, Livestock SA, the SA Forest Products Association, Wine Grape Council of SA, the Local Government Association, Regional Development Australia, as well as farming and machinery dealer representatives are overseeing the project.
Committee chair and marketing specialist Michael Neale said it was clear there was a significant appetite to improve the ease of compliance and the safety of all road users around agricultural machinery movements.
"This is an important project because of the significant benefit agriculture brings to the South Australian economy and to regional communities, but there is a safety and compliance issue that also needs to be addressed," he said.
"What is really pleasing is the respect steering committee members are bringing to the process, particularly their willingness to listen to each other and understand each other's concerns."
GPSA will conduct surveys and focus groups to gain a broader understanding of the issues facing producers, with producers from across all commodity sectors strongly encouraged to participate.
This information will be captured in an action plan that will inform workshops, training and educational resources for primary producers.
"This project will address road safety in an industry-wide, evidence-based way through engagement with those who need to access public roads all year round," Mr Neale said.
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