An organisation formed to reverse a federal government decision to make rollover protection on quad bikes compulsory from this October is now calling for a three-year moratorium on the move.
Founder of Save the Quad Bike in Australia Craig Hartley said the call to federal Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar was supported by the signatures of 26,000 farmers and more than 400 motorcycle dealers.
However, Mr Sukkar seems unlikely to budge on the issue judging by a response from one of his spokesman to Mr Hartley's demand.
"The ACCC made its recommendation to implement a mandatory safety standard based on extensive consultation with farmers, consumer groups, retailers, manufacturers, health and medical experts," Mr Sukkar's spokesman said.
"The majority of stakeholders who made submissions to the ACCC supported a new mandatory safety standard.
"The National Farmers Federation led a high-profile campaign asking for this safety standard with support from the Australian Medical Association, Rural Doctors Association of Australia, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
"The ACCC is working with farmers, manufacturers and retailers to implement the standard and is monitoring the supply chain issues raised in relation to the manufacturers ceasing supply of quad bikes in Australia before the standard comes fully into force," the spokesman said.
A number of major quad bike (ATV) manufacturers including Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Canam will quit the Australian market rather than fit rollover protection devices to their machines.
Mr Hartley said many motorcycle dealers stood to lose 40 to 70 per cent of their sales as a result while jobs would be lost as manufacturers downsized their warehouses.
"Farmers are still basically panic buying quad bikes as they realise their most used machine on the farm will not be available after October 10," he said.
"Reasons for calling for a hold on the legislation are many and varied and start with there being more than 6000 pre-sold quad bikes that have been delayed in getting to Australia due to COVID as factories have supply and production issues along with shipping hold-ups.
"The manufacturers are well within their rights to withdraw from the Australian market as the latest SEA Ltd reports and Dynamic Research Inc reviews from America literally say the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has got this (mandatory fitting of rollover protection) wrong.
"All warranties for pre-sold quad bikes have to be lodged by the legislation start date of October 10 so if stock is still in transit this cannot happen," Mr Hartley said.
"If the Government is serious about safety, it should be looking at what the manufacturers have always stated and that is to push for more safety awareness programs and for consumers to more closely follow the guidelines outlined on every quad bike of wearing helmets, no doubling of pillion passengers, no under 16-year-olds and no alcohol and drugs.
"Motorcycle dealers have tens of thousands of dollars of accessories ordered for the pre-sold quad bikes and if the quads do not arrive in time dealers will be financially burdened with unsaleable stock, this and a drop of 40pc plus on sales turnover after October 2021 will see many rural businesses forced to close their doors.
"Many farmers are saying they cannot survive without quad bikes on the farm and that side-by-side (SSV) buggies, even though useful for many applications, are just too large and cumbersome for most cattle work.
"Even the SSV buggy has proven to be dangerous as people will not wear seat belts, so will these be the next target by the government?
"All of these issues for safety are people problems and not the actual machines," Mr Hartley said.