Carting hay to livestock farmers in drought has become easier with approved load dimensions for hay trucks increased and standardised across states.
NFF President Fiona Simon joined Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Royalla, just south of Canberra, this morning where the Drought Assistance Dimensions Exemption Notice was announced.
The new Notice will harmonise load dimensions across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia with the limit for loads carrying hay increased to 2.83 metres in width and 4.6m in height.
Ms Simson said the NFF had long called for common sense to dictate fodder transportation regulations.
“Consistency across states is particularly crucial at the moment as hay is being transported across borders to drought-affected farmers. Currently, NSW and Queensland farmers are sourcing hay from Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.
“Until now differences in dimensions had thrown a spanner in the works, with transporters caught out by different dimension limits in different states.”
Ms Simson said the problem was exacerbated by the nature of the load.
“Unwrapped hay bales expand slightly during transport, making it difficult for truckers to guarantee that the load would remain under the previous 2.7 width limit.
“The extra five centimetres each side will give transporters the assurance that they won’t be fined for carting hay to drought-affected farmers.”
Ms Simson said today’s announcement was an example of an affordable, simple and highly practical way Governments could assist farmers with the challenges of drought.
Ms Simson said the NFF would continue to call for the increased harmonisation of state regulations governing large agricultural vehicles.
“Farmers and those supporting them, should be able to get on with job without unnecessary red tape and inconsistent regulation.”