Farmers salute curfew review

Daryna ZadvirnaNarrogin Observer
Roe MP Peter Rundle and Michael Kowald from Burando Hill.
Camera IconRoe MP Peter Rundle and Michael Kowald from Burando Hill.

Farmers have welcomed Main Roads’ commitment to revising public holiday curfews around the movement of heavy agricultural vehicles.

During a briefing with The Nationals WA, Main Roads agreed to revise the curfew system to make it more appropriate for farmers, and to provide an update by the end of this month.

Geoff Perkins, who owns and runs a farm machinery centre in Narrogin, said the curfews greatly affected his customers.

“Considering it’s the two busiest times for the farming community, it’s vital to them that we are able to move the machinery,” he said.

Katanning’s Burando Hill sales manager Michael Kowald said his clients needed machinery to work and harvest during those periods.

“The curfews do make things a bit harder for us and them to get what we need to do done, so it would be good to be able to move around more freely,” he said.

Nationals WA Agricultural spokesman Colin de Grussa said there had been angst among members of the agricultural community when they became aware of the public holiday curfews.

“These curfews include a six-day movement ban around Easter and an 11-day movement ban in December and January for heavy agricultural vehicles, despite the fact that these are crucial times for seeding and harvest activities in much of the State,” he said.

Mr de Grussa said the Easter curfew was particularly restrictive, banning heavy agricultural machinery movement on all roads in WA.

“This means a farmer using a minor local road, 100km off the highway and totally removed from any increase in tourism traffic, would be breaking the law and voiding their insurance if they wanted to move machinery a short distance between farms or paddocks,” he said.

Member for Roe Peter Rundle said Main Roads also intended to implement an additional notice for agricultural vehicle movement in the near future.

“It’s expected to be put into place by the end of October, which will allow a greater range of heavy agricultural vehicle movements without the need for a permit,” he said.

A spokesman said while Main Roads was reviewing the curfews, they were imposed for safety.

“The curfew periods recognise the increased volumes of tourist traffic travelling on unfamiliar roads across the State and the overall increase in risk to public safety on roads during these busier periods,” the spokesman said.

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