Volume loading scheme will be capped: Gay

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay says any volume loading scheme for livestock industry will be capped at 68 tonnes

By Brad Gardner | November 24, 2011

NSW will cap livestock trucks at a gross weight of below 70 tonnes under any volumetric loading scheme designed to bring the state into line with other jurisdictions.

Following a commitment from Trade Minister Andrew Stoner to investigate the feasibility of switching to volume loading, Roads Minister Duncan Gay has issued a condition on any move to follow the lead of Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

The three states all permit livestock volume loading, which Gay says leaves industry at a competitive disadvantage. The Northern Co-Operative Meat Company says a 26-metre B-double in Queensland can load between 66 and 72 head of cattle, while NSW operators are limited to 56 to 60 beasts.

"Under any potential scheme in NSW we would look to cap the maximum gross weight of a livestock truck at 68 tonnes," Gay says.

He reiterated comments made by Stoner that NSW farmers, livestock carriers, abattoirs, feedlots and saleyards have to pay higher freight costs compared to their interstate competitors.

The NSW Farmers Association wants trucks exempted from vehicle mass limits as long as they meet animal welfare obligations and manufacturer’s ratings.

The Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA) has long called for volume loading to be introduced. President Barney Hayes says reform could improve the economic viability of the supply chain and reduce the number of trucks on the road.

NSW has previously resisted volume loading on the basis its bridges would not support loads beyond general mass limits.

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