We need safe access to our roads

NSW Farmers calling for commonsense changes for safe access to our roads

Opinion
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NSW Farmers welcomes the opportunity to engage with government to make access for heavy vehicles easier and the roads safer for all users.

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NSW Farmers’ Association has long advocated for an efficient and streamlined freight network. Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) have announced the introduction of the NSW Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice.

This allows eligible vehicles transporting feed, water and stock in drought affected areas in NSW to travel under the Notice and without a permit.

Under the changes, heavy vehicles, including B-doubles up to 26 metres long, 2.83 metres wide on all approved roads and up to 4.6 metres high on the approved 4.6 metre high network will not require a permit. On a case-by-case basis the government will also allow access permits for road trains on roads currently not approved.

This announcement coincides with the release of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and James Cook University study that has found large agricultural vehicles (LAVs) pose a relatively low safety risk on our roads.

NSW Farmers’ RMS spokesperson and chair of the NFF Economics Committee, Wayne Dunford said: “especially in times of drought, commonsense changes that enable ready and safe access to our roads is crucial for farmers”.

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Research outcomes show that LAVs are involved in less than 0.3 per cent of road deaths in Australia, with fewer than 90 road incidents recorded on average each year (from 2005-2016). The report will form the basis of a new campaign for all road users travelling in rural and regional Australia to deliver higher safety outcomes and build driver confidence in interactions with LAVs.

We welcome the opportunity to engage with the NSW Government and local government on the recent changes and research findings so to make access for these vehicles easier and the roads safer for all users. The ‘Large Agricultural Vehicles on Roads in Australia’ Report can be found on the National Farmers’ Federation website.

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