Hay run rules relaxed

By Country News

Large trucks carrying fodder and hay to drought-stricken farmers will no longer be stopped at state borders.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the ‘‘common sense’’ relaxation of road transport rules to increase and standardise load dimensions would bring relief to struggling farmers.

‘‘We want them to keep on trucking all the way and not get caught up by unnecessary red tape,’’ Mr Morrison said at Royalla in NSW on Thursday.

‘‘Common sense must prevail.’’

The problem arises when compressed hay starts to expand on long journeys and becomes non-compliant with state regulations.

Heavy trucks up to 4.6m high at 2.83m wide will no longer require permits to access state roads, pushing the dimensions out by about 30cm.

The change will remove the need for up to 6000 permits a year by harmonising road rules across Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

‘‘Consistency across states is particularly crucial at the moment as hay is being transported across borders to drought-affected farmers,’’ National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said.

‘‘Until now, differences in dimensions had thrown a spanner in the works, with transporters caught out by different dimension limits in different states.’’

The VFF has welcomed the Federal Government’s move.

‘‘We hope this is the first step towards a harmonised national hay carting notice, which will ultimately lead to increased access and efficiency for all kinds of heavy vehicles on Victorian roads,’’ VFF grains president Ross Johns said.

‘‘We have seen too many hay deliveries to farmers battling dry conditions held up at state borders because of excessive red tape and bureaucracy,’’ Mr Johns said.

‘‘Farmers have been calling out for measures which make it easier for hay and fodder to reach farmers in need, and the Federal Government should be congratulated for listening and acting.’’