REGIONAL ROAD-SHARING CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO HARVEST SAFETY

A new road safety initiative designed to improve regional road sharing between large agricultural vehicles and other road-users is being rolled out to coincide with the up-coming summer harvest period.

The National Farmers’ Federations’ (NFF) ‘Common Roads, Common Sense’ campaign is being funded by $250,000 from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) program, with support from the Federal Liberal and Nationals’ Government.

An educational message will be delivered through a series of radio, on-line and video clips targeting regional road users throughout the nation.

The campaign was unveiled today by Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack on a farming property at Yerong Creek in the Riverina region of New South Wales.

Mr McCormack said the initiative was moving ahead just as harvesters, trucks and other large farm machinery are starting to use regional roads more frequently, at harvest time.

He said the NFF has developed a simple three-step process to help guide driver behaviour – Look Out, Slow Down and Take Care – and was looking forward to the positive message.

“The aim of this campaign is to ensure other road users in regional areas are more aware of how to best respond to large agricultural machinery, when sharing the roads,” Mr McCormack said.

“The safe and efficient movement of large farm machinery on public roads provides multiple benefits; including helping to safeguard an essential operational component of Australia’s agricultural sector.

“This will assist all road users, and ensure our hard working farmers can get on with the job of being the world’s best food and fibre producers.”

With National Agriculture Day due to be celebrated on November 21, NFF CEO Tony Mahar welcomed the ‘Common Roads, Common Sense’ educational initiative.

Mr Mahar said the new campaign was symbolised by the iconic ‘fingers off the steering wheel country wave’ which is used by country drivers to positively acknowledge the presence of other road users.

“Large machinery is also critical to keeping farmers moving with 93 per cent of Australia’s food supply grown here on home shores,” Mr Mahar said.

“Farmers take their responsibility to keep our communities safe very seriously, and recognise moving large machines like tractors and harvesters can cause some inconvenience for other drivers.

“We’ll always move out of the way in these vehicles where we can, but we want to work as a team with other road users to use common sense when we do need to interact.”

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said large agricultural vehicles made up an important sector of Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet.

“I welcome the NFF’s commitment to road safety and to building a shared culture between general road users and farmers,” Mr Petroccitto said.

The NFF’s ‘Common Roads, Common Sense’ campaign is funded through $250,000 under the HVSI program where the first three funding rounds saw the Australian Government and NHVR announce $11.61 million for 33 projects throughout the country.

Funding applications for Round 4 of the HVSI were revealed last week, giving the green light to submissions for other projects aimed at saving lives and reducing road trauma.

For more information or the submission guidelines visit www.nhvr.gov.au/hvsi

Hannah Maguire