Moree backs harvest scheme as RMS details emerge

By: Rob McKay


Mayor in warning on non-compliance, which sits at 4.1 per cent report shows

Moree backs harvest scheme as RMS details emerge
Part of the report’s cover

 

Moree Plains Shire Council has backed the New South Wales Grain Harvest Management Scheme (GHMS) after a brief hiatus.

The council dug its heels in due to lack of detail on lack of a report on the 2015-16 harvest that it ended up receiving last week.

It will now participate in this season’s scheme, to a point.

At a meeting last week, councillors expressed concerns that the industry data indicated higher than anticipated breaches within the shire.

"I am pretty disappointed that the data seems to show that the system is being abused by some operators, mayor Katrina Humphries says.

"We were assured by industry representatives in the last few years that this would be utilised only as a tolerance – not become a backdoor way of overloading trucks.

"Unlike other levels of government, I want to give the industry a chance to demonstrate some responsibility with this scheme into the future. So we have approved the scheme for the last quarter of this year.

"However, council has reserved its right to opt out of the Scheme should the statistics demonstrate that there are serious repeat offenders or that the rates of non-compliance are continuing to increase."

The council agreed to participate from October 1 to December 31 with access restricted to 25m-26m B-double and road train (A-double and AB-triple) routes on its regional and local roads.

Operators must restrict their maximum speed to 80km/h on all unsealed roads. Further restrictions apply to gravel and dirt roads which are only accessible during dry weather.

RMS take

The scheme provides an additional 5 per cent mass allowance for productivity and aims to minimise the risk associated with the variable conditions of loading trucks at farms.

It is designed to minimise heavy vehicle movements, protect roads and to increase productivity and efficiency of the grain industry.

According to Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), the NSW Grain Harvest Management Scheme: July 2015 to June 2016 Harvest Period Report shows 80 per cent of deliveries were completed using the scheme concession.

"This confirms the importance of the scheme in continuing to provide significant benefits to regional communities through promoting the safe and productive movement of grain," RMS freight branch acting director Susie Mackay says.

"The scheme is also meeting its objectives of protecting road infrastructure and facilitating the safe movement of grain through low levels of overloading and saving an estimated 9,525 one-way trips."

Industry compliance

Across all deliveries, both GHMS and non-GHMS, compliance was high at 95.5 per cent, with 4.1 per cent of all reported deliveries being overmass and 4.3 per cent of GHMS deliveries were above GHMS mass limits.

Of overmass figures, 0.1 per cent of vehicles were 105-110 per cent above limits while 0.03 per cent were up to 110 per cent above.

Non-GHMS overshoot fell from 13.7 per cent in the October 2014-June 2015 period to 3.2 per cent.

GHMS non-compliance rose from 1.7 per cent to 4.3 per cent and RMS "is investigating whether there are any identifiable factors as to the increase in non-compliance in the GHMS, including investigation of the geographical distribution of non-compliance and enforcement campaigns throughout the period", the report says.

Otherwise, it sees industry compliance as "strong", demonstrating that "the scheme continues to achieve its objectives".

There were 3,897 intercepts across NSW with 54 weight breaches and three formal warnings issued in total.

Operators participating in the GHMS must carry a copy of the Notice in their vehicle and be able to produce it on request.  Vehicles that are detected overloading will lose the concessional mass limits under the scheme and will be breached based on GML.

Report highlights include:

 

  • 80 per cent (9,578,057 tonnes) of the grain deliveries for the period were delivered using the GHMS concession
  • 186,906 vehicle trips used the GHMS concession
  • Six-axle prime mover/semi-trailer combinations moved almost 39 per cent of the total grain transport task
  • Most grain transported over this period was wheat, accounting for 65 per cent of all deliveries.

 

The report concludes that Federation LGA, the former Corowa and Urana shires, accounted for the highest proportion of grain deliveries during the period, followed by the Shires of Hilltops, Moree, and Bland.  These results differ greatly from the results of the previous period where Griffith and Murrumbidgee Shires accounted for most of these deliveries.

The number of NSW councils participating in the scheme remained stable with no additional Councils signing up over the period.  However, the number of participating grain receivers increasing from 18 to 21.

The full report can be found here.

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