NSW farmers taking 'carrot' to switch to side-by-sides

Rebates helping to get farmers off their quads

Machinery
QUAD BIKE BATTLEGROUND: Major quad bike manufacturers are threatening to pull out of the Australian market because of new safety standards to reduce accidents.

QUAD BIKE BATTLEGROUND: Major quad bike manufacturers are threatening to pull out of the Australian market because of new safety standards to reduce accidents.

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A $2000 rebate to encourage NSW farmers switch from quad bikes to side-by-sides has boosted sales.

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Farmers in NSW have bought 1918 new side-by-side vehicles and 873 rider safety devices including roll bars for quad bikes with the help of a $2000 rebate.

SafeWork NSW is offering the rebates to help reduce on-farm deaths involving quad bikes.

Side-by-side vehicles are seen by the NSW Government as a safer option to quad bikes on farms.

Rebates of $600 per operator protective device and $500 towards the purchase of a drone are also available.

NSW Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said quad bikes weigh 400 kilograms and were "extremely dangerous".

"I cannot stress enough how important it is to take the proper precautions when operating these powerful machines," he said.

"Quad bikes are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury on Australian farms and are responsible for the deaths of 270 Australians since 2001.

FUNDING ALTERNATIVES: NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, said his government was actively encouraging farmers to buy side-by-side vehicles with the help of rebates.

FUNDING ALTERNATIVES: NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, said his government was actively encouraging farmers to buy side-by-side vehicles with the help of rebates.

"Farmers are eligible to claim a $2000 rebate as one-off payment and at the point of sale when upgrading their quad bike to a safer side-by-side vehicle.

"There is also funding available for drones which gets people off quad bikes for tasks including checking stock, fences, dams and to monitor weed growth."

Mr Anderson said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was asked in 2017 by state and federal ministers to conduct an inquiry into quad bike safety and the Quad Bike Taskforce conducted a comprehensive, two-year safety investigation.

In 2019 the ACCC provided a report recommending the adoption of a mandatory safety standard for all new quad bikes sold in Australia.

On October 10, 2019, the Federal Government introduced the Consumer Goods (Quad Bikes) Safety Standard which had three elements: improved information for potential purchasers, enhanced quad bike stability, and rollover protection to reduce injuries and deaths.

SafeWork NSW has also partnered with Tocal College to deliver free accredited quad bike and side-by-side vehicle training to eligible farmers across regional and remote NSW.

Quad bike manufacturers Honda, Yamaha and Polaris have indicated they will pull their quad bikes from the Australian market, with Honda citing the impossibility of meeting the new safety standard.

However with fatalities on the rise and indications other suppliers are about to release compliant quad models, the ACCC is standing by the introduction of compulsory roll-over protection measures and refutes a number of the claims made by Honda.

ACCC deputy chairman Mick Keogh said the new standard requiring operator or roll-over protection devices be fitted to quad bikes would save lives.

"We already have nine fatalities due to quad bikes this year, all of them involved quad bikes without operator protection devices," he said.

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