National agricultural vehicle standards a step closer


National authorities take draft notice to local councils for feedback

National agricultural vehicle standards a step closer
McCormack and Petroccitto

 

Policy agreement has been reached between the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), federal government and participating states and territories on modernised heavy vehicle access in the agricultural sector.

The draft National Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Notice seeks to harmonise dimension limits and standard operating conditions for agricultural vehicles and combinations such as cane trailers, silage trailers, harvesters and tractors.

Some of the key provisions include: standard dimension and mass allowances; consistent cotton harvester movement in Queensland and New South Wales; and standard piloting requirements.

The notice will reduce the current number of designated agricultural zones; reduce complexity of cross-border movements; improve agricultural operations across farms; and provide increased support for drought-affected communities, deputy prime minister Michael McCormack says.

"This is an important breakthrough for the agricultural industry – delivering an agreement to use a modernised and simplified set of standards for moving agricultural combinations on public roads," McCormack says.

"Some of the existing laws around the movement of agricultural combinations date back almost 40 years and require updating."

The notice is now being put to local governments to finalise the draft and eventually formally implement the proposed changes.

"As most agricultural combinations move on local government controlled roads, the notice will now be put to local councils for their feedback," NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says.


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Almost two years in the making, the development of the notice was based on research conducted by AustRoads on current and future agricultural vehicles in liaison with state road managers and the agricultural industry.

National Farmers Federation (NFF) president Fiona Simson says that while more needs to be done to harmonise the rules, her organisation welcomes progress towards the notice.

"We will continue to work with state and territory governments to remove the red tape tying up farmers wanting to move ag vehicles on public roads," Simson adds.

Draft key positions

Key positions as outlined by the NHVR include:

  • Use of consistent definitions as set out in the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Regulation (MDL Regulation).
  • Maintain and expand the range of agricultural vehicles and combinations allowed to operate under notice.
  • Implementation of a new national limit classification system for the determination of agricultural vehicle and combination access within the currently established state areas/zones (currently considering 5 classes).
  • Improved consistency of access conditions.
  • Use of Schedule 8 of the MDL Regulation regarding warning devices requirements.
  • Improved consistency of night travel requirements.
  • Consistent limits for length, height, width and rear overhang developed around the limit classification system. In some instances these dimensions may be increased.
  • Speed restrictions while towing an implement with no brakes will be as per Schedule 8, Section 24 of the MDL Regulation.
  • Harmonised mass limits.
  • Improved consistency of load carrying conditions and braking requirements (conditional to implementation of towed ratios).

 

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