Farm machinery movements on public roads simplified across regional councils and borders

A new National Class 1 Agricultural Notice which began on 1 May 2019 will benefit farmers who need to move combination agricultural equipment on public roads, after almost two-thirds of Australia’s local government areas agreed to the changes.

The harmonisation will apply across designated roads in more than 270 local government areas, following about two years of negotiations between the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), industry, state and territory road transport authorities, and other parties.

“Farmers should check the Operator’s Guide and online maps to see whether they still require a permit to move a vehicle, as the Notice has established a network of local, state and territory roads that can be used by heavy agricultural vehicles,” said the Regulator’s Executive Director Freight and Supply Chain Productivity, Peter Caprioli.

“It will bring the number of designated agricultural zones down from 26 to just five, reduce the complexity for cross-border movements, and generally improve the efficiency of agricultural operations.”

The notice does not apply in Western Australia or the Northern Territory. There is a special consideration in Victoria, where vehicle widths will increase to 3.7m from 3.5m in a designated zone.

The notice introduces vehicle standards and operating conditions to improve road safety. This includes conditions relating to maximum operating speed, setting a maximum mass and dimension limit, vehicle standards that meet the Australian Design Rules, warning signs and lights, and pilot and escort requirements.

“This is a great outcome for farmers who move agricultural vehicles on public roads,” said National Farmers’ Federation CEO, Tony Mahar.

“It is critical farmers are able to move large agricultural vehicles and equipment on public roads to go between paddocks and farms to spray, harvest, and plant crops.

“The previous rules and regulations governing these movements fell under the jurisdiction of state, federal and local governments.”

The newly-designated roads were determined following consultations with local government areas in March and April.

The NHVR has released an Operator’s Guide which explains requirements before heavy agricultural machinery can be moved.

“If your local government area hasn’t yet signed up to the Notice, you can continue under your current arrangements for up to 12 months, unless a Notice expires in the meantime,” the NHVR’s Peter Caprioli said.”

Permits can be obtained via the NHVR site.