Victoria’s first Grain Harvest Management Scheme is now operating across the state and is set to boost heavy vehicle safety and productivity and slash travel times for farmers.
The scheme allows heavy vehicles to increase their load by five per cent during the grain harvest season from 1 October 2017 to 30 April 2018, when delivering grain to receivers who are also participating in the scheme.
The five per cent concession will reduce the number of trips between farms and grain receivers giving heavy vehicle operators more time to drive safely.
VicRoads Director of Heavy Vehicle Services, Eric Henderson, said that the focus of the scheme was twofold – supporting farmers to be more productive during the grain harvest and boosting heavy vehicle safety.
“This is the busiest time of year for farmers and this scheme will ensure they spend less time on the road and can get back to business sooner. Time savings also increase the focus on safe driving,” Mr Henderson said.
“Three out of five of the large bulk handlers have signed up so far which is fantastic.”
The average age of a heavy vehicle in country Victoria is 29 years and advances in technology mean that newer vehicles are much more compliant with safety and environmental standards than older vehicles.
To participate in the scheme, vehicles must comply with the uniform national standards for vehicles built after 1 January, 2002. Vehicles must also not exceed their manufacturer ratings.
National Heavy Vehicle Regulator CEO, Sal Petroccitto, welcomed the Victorian Government’s decision to deliver an outcome for heavy vehicle operators that supported both heavy vehicle productivity and safety.
“The National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey showed that newer heavy vehicles were five times less likely to have a major non-conformity than vehicles 10-years and older,” Mr Petroccitto said.
“By supporting newer heavy vehicles during the grain harvest season this scheme will deliver benefits for all rural and regional road users.”
Victorian Transport Association CEO, Peter Anderson, said the extra five per cent tolerance during the grain harvest season would give operators flexibility to be able to safely transport more grain.
“As an industry group we welcome the scheme and the positive outcomes it will inevitably create for operator safety and productivity,” Mr Anderson said.
“Provisions made for bigger loads mean fewer trips for operators, which will improve their profit and safety margins.”
VicRoads will evaluate the Grain Harvest Management Scheme after the first year.