WA Government eases curfews on oversize agricultural vehicles

Image by Shutterstock.
Image by Shutterstock.

The WA Government has eased Easter and Christmas curfews for oversize agricultural vehicles allowing them to travel along more regional transport routes provided they are under 5.5 metres in width.

The change was made to allow farmers to continue operating efficiently during what could be busy seeding and harvesting periods.

For the past 15 years a curfew applied to oversize vehicles over the Easter and Christmas periods - preventing them from moving across WA's road network during the two busiest holiday seasons.

The curfew has been lifted on all except Perth metro roads and 11 major regional transport routes including the Bussell, Forrest and South Western Highways and will only apply to agricultural vehicles above 5.5 metres in width.

Main Roads has also developed an Agricultural Combinations Order to reduce the level of red tape for the agricultural industry.

The changes mean farmers only need to obtain a permit when an over-mass agricultural combination is required to cross a bridge.

Local Government Agricultural Freight Group chairman Ken Seymour said the change was better than nothing but there would still be farmers breaking the law trying to get from one side of their farm to the other.

LGAFG work with the WA Local Government Association to bring local governments together on freight issues within the agriculture industry.

Mr Seymour said growers who had blocks of land either side of those highways would still be stuck on one part of their farm.

"It is disappointing but at least there has been some movement," he said

"It is good to see some commonsense has prevailed, grain growers are weather dependent and deal with a perishable commodity.

"Christmas and Easter can be the busiest times for growers if we have rain. It can also be the busiest time for sowing as well.

"Under the curfew farmers could sacrifice optimum seeding conditions which goes back to being able to seed in optimum conditions and maximise yields."

Shadow minister for transport Libby Mettam wrote to the transport minister Rita Saffioti in September, on behalf of industry groups which also included Wines of WA and the WA Farmers Federation.

Ms Mettam stated the curfew during critical times could result in considerable costs to industry through lost production causing financial distress in severe circumstances.

Transport minister Rita Saffioti said she asked Main Roads to review the curfews which were applied to agricultural vehicles following concerns raised by the industry.