We won't be bullied in Australia: NFF lashes quad bike companies

We won't be bullied in Australia: NFF lashes quad bike companies


Farm Online News
National Farmers Federation president and Liverpool Plains farmer Fiona Simson.

National Farmers Federation president and Liverpool Plains farmer Fiona Simson.

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Rural doctors, farmers join forces to demand roll-over protection on quad bikes.

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Farmers, the Country Women's Association and rural doctors are banding together to demand politicians ignore the "bullying" of industry lobbyists and mandate roll-over safety equipment on all new quad bikes.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission has investigated the safety of the popular farm utility vehicles and issued a report to government in February, but the government is yet to respond.

The report from ACCC recommended that to reduce injuries and fatalities roll-over protection equipment be mandatory on all new quad bikes sold in Australia.

Honda and Yamaha dispute the safety benefits of roll-over protection, argued that user behaviour determines the safety of quad bike use, and threatened to withdraw their products from the Australian market if government mandates it is fitted to all new vehicles.

National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson said government should reject advice from industry lobbyists, who have argued against additional safety equipment.

"Manufacturers should be told by this government 'this is not the way we do it in Australia. We don't get bullied.... What we do is provide safety for the Australian public," Ms Simson said at Parliament House in Canberra today.

In an unusual move, the government responded to the ACCC's final report by calling for a third round of community consultation on the consumer watchdog's final report.

Since 2001, 230 people have been killed on quad bikes, and there have been seven deaths on quads or all terrain vehicles this year. About 60 per cent of all quad bike accidents are caused by roll-over.

Rural Doctors Association of Australia chief executive Peta Rutherford said roll-over protection would improve safety and reduce the impact of accidents on regional communities.

"These incidents have a huge ongoing impact on communities," Ms Rutherford said.

"It's not to say all accidents will be prevented, but it will go a long way to increasing the safety of these vehicles.

"If anything can be done to prevent an unnecessary death it makes sense to implement those solutions."

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CWA of Australia president Tanya Cameron urged manufacturers to standardise these safety features and said the ACCC's safety standards should be adopted as soon as possible.

"Over 650 hospitalisations occur every year due to a quad bike related injuries- and many of these result in serious lifelong injuries like paraplegia and quadriplegia," Mrs Cameron said.

"We have lost, on average, 16 Australian lives every year since 2011 due to quad bikes."

Ms Simson demanded government act on the ACCC's recommendations.

"Manufacturers are here right now lobbying decision makers about resisting calls for safer machines,' she said.

"The time for consultation is over, the time for action is now."

Ms Simson said since optional roll-over safety devices were available they had not been responsible for any fatalities.

"It is difficult to see why government is not acting on this very important recommendation to fit new quad bikes with protection devices that will save lives of farmers their friends and their children."

NFF director and Cassilis, NSW cattle producer Tony Hegarty said he had fitted roll-over protection to his quad bike.

"All of the deaths on-farm are at low speed and it comes from the bike lying on top of you, you die of asphyxiation. The roll bar will give you wriggle room to get out from underneath," Mr Hegarty said.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has carriage of the government's response to the ACCC recommendations.

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