WAFarmers notes the political debate in WA Parliament on the Christmas and Easter period restrictions for agricultural vehicle movements. Many farmers were not aware that these regulations have been in place for at least 15 years, and the curfew policy has not changed.
The fact is, most farmers that have been moving machines during these periods have been in contravention of the rules. In general, farmers have been operating outside of the road rules, as many rules have been unworkable and have not kept up with the increasing size of machinery and the growing size of cropping programs, with farmers cropping over multiple blocks kilometres apart, through farm property aggregation. The difficulty of obtaining Licenced Pilots at peak times has also been a struggle for many farmers.
WAFarmers recognises that governments will not compromise on road safety during peak holiday periods but will work with peak bodies on practical solutions.
WAFarmers has taken the lead in working constructively with Main Roads through the WAFarmers Transport Committee over the last two years and has ended up achieving a very workable outcome through the new Agricultural Pilot Requirements. Government will always have to be cautious of increasing risk due to the growing number of road users, and they will take a precautionary approach; just as farmers operate under the precautionary principle of minimising risk.
WAFarmers CEO Trevor Whittington said the new requirements are a workable solution and we encourage farmers to ensure they are across the rules. There are penalties for non-compliance.
“The revised requirements will enable farmers to be able to move their agricultural machines under less restriction, while still meeting safety requirements on road.
“Although the new requirements will not provide less restriction to all farmers, with many still requiring a Heavy Vehicle Pilot Licence, the revised requirements enable farmers to move larger machinery, for longer distances.
“The risk-based approach Main Roads have used to divide access into zones based on road usage and risk exposure is an improved approach.”
WAFarmers welcomes the constructive engagement on these reforms and will continue to work with government on future reforms to ensure farmers can continue to access the state roads when required.