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New rules announced to support farmers welcomed by transport industry

Trucking operators will be able to deliver hay and fodder to drought-affected farmers with greater ease the Federal government announced today.

From midnight tonight, new rules for transporting hay and fodder will come into effect removing restrictions on trucks up to 2.83 metres wide and 4.6 metres high, which will no longer require permits on the state-controlled road network.

Previous access was limited to Class 3 vehicles up to 2.6 metres wide and 4.3 metres high.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack gathered alongside trucking industry representatives this morning in Royalla, NSW, to announce the new measures.

In a statement the Deputy Prime Minister said it was a practical step to supporting the large amounts of fodder from Western Australia and Tasmania loaded and transported to drought-affected areas like those in regional NSW as the Commonwealth drought support measures reached more than $1.8 billion.

“The Notice will remove the need for up to 6,000 consents a year,” he said. “It is estimated farming operators will save the equivalent of up to 54,000 days per year applying and waiting for permits.”

Permits are still required through the National Heavy Vehicle Portal for access to some local government roads.

Ben Maguire, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) CEO, said the existing rules for hay and fodder transport were confusing and differed across South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

“The new rules will standardise the maximum dimensions for eligible vehicles at 2.83 metres wide and 4.6 metres high,” he said.

“The rules will remove the need for up to 6,000 consents per year and will save trucking operators and farmers the equivalent of 54,000 days per year applying and waiting for permits.”

“It’s a great outcome that will make it easier for our members to deliver hay and fodder to Australia’s hard-pressed farmers.”

“It was only possible, though, because the ATA and our member associations, and farm associations, worked closely together to pitch the case to governments for consistent rules.”

Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO welcomed the announcement to extend drought exemption to all states.

“This is a positive and necessary response to this unprecedented humanitarian emergency with the livelihoods of many Australian farmers at risk,” he said.

“In the lead-up to today’s announcement, NatRoad has strongly advocated for a harmonised heavy vehicle law across all states. We would like to thank the government for listening. The exemption will help road transport businesses ensure that help reaches those affected by the drought when most needed.”

“The steps show the government recognises the importance of the road transport industry in helping the farming community and we look forward to working with the government.”

(Image: Ben Maguire ATA CEO).

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