New vehicle exemption notice will help farmers drive productivity gains

The Palascuzuk Government has paved the way for the safe movement of large agricultural vehicles on roads north of Gympie, with the roll out today of a new exemption notice on heavy vehicle routes.

Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Queensland Government had partnered with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, industry and police to develop the initiative for vehicles up to 4 metres in width following a successful trial.

"Industry came to us seeking more flexible and productive arrangements for oversized agricultural vehicles on heavy vehicle routes and we’ve acted," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"This new measure will make it easier for large agricultural vehicles to move on roads in the coastal areas north of Gympie and drive improved productivity for industry.

"As always, safety is our number one priority, so these vehicles will be restricted to daytime travel only and need to meet new conditions including the use of a pilot vehicle and portable signs to warn other road users in advance if they travel on roads like the Bruce Highway.

"This measure strikes the right balance slashing red tape to help the industry move more efficiently, but it doesn’t compromise motorist safety."

Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson welcomed the new exemption notice under heavy vehicle national law which will take effect from today.

"The flexible arrangements for moving oversized vehicles on all roads in zone one between Gympie and Cairns will benefit our state’s agriculture sector,” Ms Donaldson said.

"This is a great outcome for local industry because removing this administrative burden will lift productivity and enable the agriculture sector to save money and time."

CEO of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) Sal Petroccitto said the initiative would save Queensland farmers time and money through reduction in paper work and the ability to move the right vehicles at the right times.

"What a national notice like this does is enable local productivity and economic growth while maintaining high levels of safety," Mr Petroccitto said.

"At the NHVR we want to enable businesses in sectors like agriculture to spend less on administrative costs related to the movement of freight and vehicles and more time making profit.

"We commend the work of Minister Hinchliffe and everyone involved in this initiative and look forward to more like it in future," Mr Petroccitto said.

Mr Hinchliffe said while motorists living in regional Queensland might be used to seeing agricultural vehicles on roads in their region, the same might not apply to drivers from urban areas and tourists.

"It’s essential for all motorists to look out for these warning signs and pilot vehicles when driving in regional Queensland, particularly between Gympie and Cairns," he said.

"These vehicles won’t be making long journeys, so motorists are reminded to stay safe and be patient."

The new measures will start from today, 1 September 2016.

During the trial which ran from December 2014 to August this year, no incidents were reported.

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