THE concerns of Victorian farmers regarding the Heavy Vehicle National Law Draft Regulatory Impact Statement, have been outlined by the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) in a submission made to the National Transport Commission.
VFF Farm Business and Regional Development Chair, Peter Tuohey said while there were some benefits to harmonising national heavy vehicle road laws, there was little benefit for farmers whose freight movements are generally local and restricted to harvest periods.
“While the VFF is supportive of nationally consistent road laws if they deliver industry efficiencies, the diversity of the nation’s freight industry must not be forgotten,” Mr Tuohey said.
“The creation of a new regulatory system will increase the distance between the regulator and local road use issues. We are concerned that this will eventually lead to a one-size-fits-all approach to heavy vehicle use which won’t always be appropriate.
“The VFF does not want to see a push to reduce the regulatory burden on large operators translate into increased regulation or costs for smaller operators. We have outlined these concerns quite clearly in our submission to the National Transport Commission.
“In particular we are concerned about the retention of local productivity variations within Victoria, including the increasingly important Primary Producer Registration (PPR).
“The PPR enhances local productivity by allowing farmers to license the optimal number of vehicles for their peak freight times. Since agricultural production is time sensitive, efficient transport at peak times is crucial and we would like to see the retention of PPR in Victoria.
“The vast majority of agricultural commodity movement in Victoria is intrastate. In fact this holds true for all road freight movement in Australia with 65 per cent (on a tonne kilometre basis) taking place within the state.
“There is little doubt that there will be some cost savings for commercial operators through nationally consistent laws and a one-stop-shop heavy vehicle regulatory system, but it is questionable as to whether there are any benefits for Victorian farmers.
“The VFF looks forward to working with the National Transport Commission throughout the consultation period for the harmonisation of heavy vehicle laws to ensure the rights of Victorian farmers are protected,” Mr Tuohey concluded.