The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has written to Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, the Hon. Mark Bailey MP, opposing a proposal to extend the primary producer concession scheme for heavy vehicles.
ALRTA understands that the Department of Transport and Main Roads is currently investigating options for sharing of concessionally registered vehicles between primary producers – effectively allowing concessionally registered vehicles to carry produce for some third parties on a commercial basis.
The advice to the Minister follows similar representations by the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland (LRTAQ) and news that NHVR is now actively enforcing conditional registration conditions in some jurisdictions.
ALRTA National President Scott McDonald said that competitive pressures and lack of enforcement in jurisdictions that have not yet transitioned to NHVR enforcement services is resulting in abuse of concessional registration schemes.
“ALRTA is not opposed to concessional registration for primary producers when used as the law intends to carry their own produce.
“However, our member operators report that vehicles registered with the benefit of primary producer exemptions and concessions are commonly observed operating on a commercial basis in the wider road freight transport industry,” said President McDonald.
“Misuse of concessional registration schemes has a fourfold impact:
- Primary producer vehicles compete unfairly with commercial carriers.
- Governments forgo revenue for infrastructure and regulatory purposes.
- Farm vehicles subject to less stringent safety checks travel longer distances on public roads.
- Persistent non-compliance risks discontinuation of such schemes which would disadvantage legitimate users in the agricultural sector.
“The current primary producer concession scheme for heavy vehicles is extremely generous.
“It would not be prudent for the Queensland Government to expand the scheme without also addressing our very serious concerns about consequential impacts on road safety, fair competition, infrastructure revenue, insurances, penalties and enforcement,” President McDonald concluded.