More than $1million in quad bike safety rebates have been handed out as the VFF and WorkSafe Victoria continue their campaign to improve farm safety.
Cooma farmer Murray Marke received more than $1100 towards two operator protection devices under the rebate after a number of on-farm accidents.
‘‘At the time I had an employee with two brothers who worked for me, and each one of them had rolled a quad,’’ he said.
‘‘One came back very concussed ... he was in a bad way.’’
The rebate covered the entire cost of the devices, with only a small fitting fee to be paid by Mr Marke.
Mr Marke said the program was effective in improving safety and provided some peace of mind.
‘‘Why not (get the rebate)? The older you get, the more accidents you have,’’ he said.
The $6million campaign has been open for five months and provides rebates of up to $1200 to those who fit operator protection devices (OPDs) or those who purchase an alternative vehicle, such as a side-by-side or small ute.
VFF vice-president Brett Hosking said people needed to take advantage of the program before funds ran out.
“With $1million already spent on the program, it’s not going to last very long, so you better get in quick if you want to fit an OPD or upgrade to a safer vehicle,” Mr Hosking said.
“The fact that we’ve seen such a fantastic uptake in the rebate shows how seriously farm safety is being taken by Victorian primary producers, because OPDs are vital to protect farmers, their families and their workers from the risks of using quad bikes.’’
The scheme comes after WorkSafe figures revealed agriculture accounted for 30 per cent of workplace deaths, despite just three per cent of workers being employed in agriculture.
‘‘Ten farmers every week are injured seriously enough to make a worker’s compensation claim,’’ Mr Hosking said.
‘‘It’s incredibly serious and this program encourages farmers to take proactive steps in safeguarding against the risks of injury while using quad bikes.’’
The organisation intends to process more than 5000 applications under the program, which will continue for two years or until the funds are exhausted.
■For more information, phone the VFF on 1300945030.