I'll fight for wool bale concession under national regs: Gay

NSW will fight to retain wool bale concession for truckers under national regulations, while also vowing action on hay bales

By Brad Gardner | August 5, 2011

NSW will fight to retain a wool bale concession for trucking operators under national regulations and has vowed to reform width restrictions on hay bales.

The state’s Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, has told Parliament he "will be fighting hard" to keep in place the concession granted earlier this year allowing wool bales to exceed 2.7 metres in width.

The concession, which will apply for one year, was implemented after farming and trucking groups raised concerns that the existing 2.5 metre width restriction could not be complied with.

"As every wool producer and carrier knows, when placed and tightly restrained on the trailer of a truck, wool bale loads can deform or bulge out beyond 2.5 metres in width," Gay says.

Trucking operators were constantly copping fines from the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) for failing to keep wool bales within the required restriction. The department rebuffed industry requests for reform despite knowing the restriction could not be complied with.

"In any future negotiations at the national level I will be fighting hard for NSW to retain the 2.7 metre width increase for the transport of wool bales," Gay says.

"The NSW Government also has moved to implement by the end of next week a similar width concession for the transportation of hay bales."

The new width concession on wool bales requires trucking operators to meet a number of conditions, such as having flashing lights and reflective devices if travelling at night. Trucks must also display warning signs, while the government has imposed clearway and transit lane restrictions. Operators are allowed a 100mm side load projection on any one side of the vehicle.

NatRoad, which campaigned for two years to get the RTA to take action, praised Gay’s decision to step in and bring the department to heel.

NatRoad President Rob McIntosh says the concession and accompanying conditions strike a balance between safety and the need to cart wool.

At the time of Gay’s announcement, NatRoad said it would push for the concession to remain as a local productivity variation under national heavy vehicle regulations, which will begin in January 2013.

Related articles:
Ham-fisted RTA under fire over loading policy
RTA gets red-tape happy to overcome loading impasse
NatRoad strikes a win on wool bales in NSW
NatRoad casts eye wider on wool bales

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