New minister in quad bike hot seat

New minister in quad bike hot seat


Politics
Liberal MP and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar.

Liberal MP and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar.

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Sukkar to drive government response to ACCC's call for mandatory roll-over protection.

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When the new federal government returned to parliament this week, it brought a new minister responsible for the consumer watchdog's controversial recommendation to mandate roll-over protection is fitted to all new quad bikes.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has carriage of the government's response to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission's quad bike inquiry, which was handed to his predecessor Stuart Robert in February.

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

However, with an election approaching and vocal opposition to roll-over protection from quad bike manufacturers and industry groups, Mr Robert took an unusual step and asked the ACCC to hold a third round of consultation - after it had issued its final recommendations.

Submissions to the third round closed on June 10. Mr Sukkar said he would respond to the ACCC when it submitted to government again.

"The ACCC is expected to provide its final recommendations to the government in the coming months," Mr Sukkar said.

"The government will carefully consider stakeholder feedback alongside the ACCC's recommendations and advice about implementing a mandatory safety standard."

National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson, who has demanded government mandate roll-over protection, was optimistic about the Mr Sukkar's advice.

"It's good to see that the Assistant Treasurer is giving thorough consideration to the ACCC's report, given that the clear take away is to act on the ACCC's recommendations without further delay," Ms Simson said.

"So, provided they're fair dinkum, the only feasible way forward is for the Minister to adopt the safety standard, including the requirement to fit operator protection devices."

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

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.

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

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