NSW livestock industry to get new loading scheme

New South Wales announces livestock loading scheme capped at HML limits will begin this year

NSW livestock industry to get new loading scheme
NSW livestock industry to get new loading scheme

October 10, 2012

road freight
industry has won its long-fought battle for a livestock loading scheme in New South Wales, with the State Government announcing it will begin later this year.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay has signed off on the scheme to allow livestock transporters with certified road-friendly suspension to operate at higher mass limit (HML) levels.

A B-double carrying livestock will be able to operate at up to 68 tonnes (or HML), as opposed 62.5 tonnes for general mass limits (GML) or 64.5 tonnes for concessional mass limits (CML).

Gay says introducing a livestock loading scheme will even the playing field with Queensland Victoria, which both have similar schemes in place.

He says a B-double truck can currently carry 56 to 60 head of cattle (depending on average animal weight) in NSW, while in neighbouring states the same truck may carry between 66 to 72 cattle.

Industry estimates the current NSW rules add an extra 15 percent to freight costs (or about $8 for each animal) and results in extra truck movements on NSW roads.

"The new arrangements also limit the amount of paperwork a livestock carrier must have on hand with operators enrolled in the scheme only required to carry the driver’s training certificate," Gay says.

"The new scheme will commence on approved HML routes later this year, and will extend to other roads in early 2013 as council sign-posting is rolled-out with the support of RMS [Roads and Maritime Services]."

Livestock carriers wanting to enrol in the scheme will need to participate in a specialised driver training course to reduce the risk and incidence of roll-over crashes for 4.6 metre high livestock vehicles.

Interstate registered vehicles are also eligible to enrol in the NSW scheme. All enrolled vehicles, including prime movers, trailers and converter dollies, will be issued with a label that must be displayed on the vehicle at all times.

State MP for Orange Andrew Gee says the scheme will improve the economic fortunes of the meat and livestock supply chain and reduce freight costs.

"Under the new scheme, NSW carriers will now be able to transport livestock at comparable weights and numbers to their interstate competitors," he says.

The new scheme has been developed in conjunction with the RMS, NSW Local Government and Shires Association, the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA) and the NSW Farmers Association.

LBCA President Barney Hayes has praised Gay for approving the scheme and says it will improve productivity. The LBCA has spent 20 years advocating reform.

"A NSW livestock loading scheme will play a key role in improving the economic viability of the state and the NSW meat supply chain, improving jobs for farmers, transporters, abattoirs, feedlots and saleyards," Hayes says.

"The introduction of the scheme will also deliver strong environmental and safety benefits for local communities, resulting in a net reduction in livestock truck movements. This means less noise, less road congestion and less pollution."

Hayes says the NSW Government’s decision to cap load levels at HML limits means the trucking industry will not contribute to increased road damage on state and local roads.

"For example, six-axle articulated (single trailer combination) vehicles will be restricted to 45.5 tonnes and B-doubles restricted to 68 tonnes. The capped weight limits also provide a perfect intersection with optimum animal welfare densities," he says.

"Congratulations Mr Gay for your commitment and dedication to delivering a NSW livestock loading scheme."

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