Many restrictions on hay carriers have been lifted to enable delivery of urgent stockfeed faster and more cheaply in NSW.
The NSW Government announced a raft of new heavy vehicle regulations for hay carriers today, that follows outrage at some truck drivers being fined on highways for small breaches of Roads and Maritime Services length and height rules.
The new regulations will allow road trains on more roads around the state, and give greater flexibility in transporting hay.
The new NSW Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice will:
- Allow eligible vehicles transporting hay to travel under notice and without a permit, including B-doubles up to 26 metres long o Up to 2.83 metres wide on all approved roads o Up to 4.6 metres high, on the approved 4.6 metre high network
From today, The NSW Government will:
- On a case-by-case basis, allow access permits for road trains on roads not currently approved for road trains
- An extra $15 million has already been committed for road maintenance. On a case-by-case basis, provide access permits for trucks transporting loads of hay in excess of 4.6 metres high
- Refund National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and Roads and Maritime permit fees for drought relief applications
- Establish a dedicated hotline (1800 952 292) and website (www.rms.nsw.gov.au/drought-freight) for any questions or queries transport operators or farmers may have
The changes follow outrage at some truck drivers being pulled up for minor breaches while carrying much need hay in this Land story: Hay truck farce hurts on the drought highway
Truck driver Peter Cox was fined $330 for being one metre over length because he was transporting hay on a split tray and it was deemed as two loads, not one. It would have been legal for him to carry just one bale of hay. It would also have been legal if he had just applied for a permit. The story provoked a massive response from people who thought the RMS and Police were just doing their job and others who saw it as revenue grabbing exercise in the stressful time of drought.
The new NSW Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice, which will come into effect on 15 August, will mean more hay can be transported per truckload, reducing costs for farmers.
Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said these new measures ensure that essential feed and water can be transported across the State as efficiently as possible.
“This means we will not waste a trip - every truck load will be used to its full capacity,” Mr Blair said.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said: “The NSW Government has streamlined the application process for those vehicles which don’t meet the conditions under the Notice and require access under permit.”
Drought applications are being prioritised through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) portal, by including the word DROUGHT in the reference section of the application.
Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen said the region’s farmers had been doing it tough for some time, and today’s announcement is another piece in the puzzle to help ease the burden on them.
“The new notice means farmers who’ve been having trouble moving hay should now find it much easier to get it to the places it is needed most,” Mr Johnsen said.