QUAD bikes can be pretty crucial on a farm. For jobs big and small, a quad bike is often among the handiest and most important investments farmers can make.
But with the convenience and utility of this Aussie farm staple, sadly, can also be a safety hazard which many of us underestimate. The greatest asset on the farm is not the stock price or the silos. It’s not the fencing or fodder. It’s you – the farmer – or those who go to one of the millions of properties across Australia each day for work.
I am Australia’s Minister with responsibility for Consumer Affairs and with that comes responsibility for the safety of products we purchase each day. That’s why stories of safety issues on quad bikes worry me so much. As a very proud country MP, I have lived on and around farms all my life.
And sadly like far too many, my community has heard and seen of safety gone awry with consequences which can stay with farmers and families forever. Since 2001 there have been more than 230 deaths associated with quad bikes in Australia. There have been six quad bike deaths this year, including a six-year-old girl and a boy aged seven. Tragically, around 10 per cent of deaths involve children.
As a Minister, I see how so many of the rules around quad bike safety can vary vastly across Australia, and whilst States and Territories have done some good work, we all need to do more. So I am working with my colleagues around the country to put your safety first.
We are also asking manufacturers to engage with the process so we can work together to improve safety before people make a purchase. Manufacturers will be able to compete on quad bike safety. And the committee will also recognise the important recreational and work aspects of quad bikes for country people. These are steps which in turn benefit your safety - but there is always more work to do. Recently the NSW Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean announced a quad bike safety improvement program which offered rebates to farmers and farmworkers for the purchase of safer side-by-side vehicles, safety equipment, free training and free helmets. This is a serious issue for all levels of government the aims of which are to keep you safe. Take care on quad bikes
Check the ones your children use to ensure they are safe. And keep an eye out for government’s work in ensuring your safety stays our number one priority. Together, we can keep our quad bikes the safe and central asset for Australia’s farm production.
See full story at www.theland.com.au