NEW South Wales Roads and Maritime Services is helping freight operators assist drought-affected communities by introducing an exemption notice, which allows some freight vehicles to operate without a permit.
The NSW Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice 2018 allows eligible vehicles that comply with conditions of the notice to operate without applying for a permit.
Roads and maritime Services director freight Susie Mackay said RMS had established a website (www.rms.nsw.gov.au/drought-freight) and a help line to give operators peace of mind they are operating within the conditions of the Notice.
“We strongly encourage operators to call the toll free helpline on 1800 952 292 to speak to an advisor before they travel,” Ms Mackay said.
“It is vital we get these drought relieving supplies through to farmers, but it is also equally vital we ensure the safety of transport operators and all road users as well.”
Ms Mackay said there had been some incidences where vehicles had been overloaded and rolled over as a consequence.
“Though they have tried to do the right thing to help farmers, some transport operators have not prepared their vehicles and loads properly, meaning they have had to be directed to fix these problems before travelling any further,” she said.
“Transporting hay bales is not an easy task as the bales can move during transit if not properly secured, or are stacked too high, too wide or both. This is why we want to help transport operators make sure they meet the conditions of the notice and get the hay to where it is critically needed in a safe and efficient manner.”
Ms Mackay said it’s great to see operators who traditionally have moved other goods are now assisting with the movement of hay and fodder, especially donated feed.
“Moving hay, just like other commodities, is a specialist task and some operators may inadvertently breach loading regulations,” Ms Mackay said.
“We don’t want unsafe situations on our roads and we don’t want to get in the way of moving feed efficiently but we do need to be assured this feed is being transported and delivered to farms as safely and efficiently as possible.
“The website and helpline are not just for first-time operators but also for seasoned transporters, as recent changes mean they can move more with each truck than they have been able to previously. All transporters are strongly encouraged to jump on the phone before each trip to ensure they are up to date with the extra assistance measures.”
The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries has classified 66.1% of the state as experiencing drought or intense drought. A further 33.4% is considered “drought affected”.