Lives will be saved with the Federal Government today mandating a new safety standard for the manufacture of all new quad bikes.
The change is the result of a high-profile campaign led by the National Farmers’ Federation compelling the Government to accept recommendations to improve quad bike safety by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
“Today’s result is nothing short of life-saving,” NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.
“Quad bike accidents have already claimed nine lives this year and 230 since 2011, about half from roll overs.”
The new safety standard requires that within 12 months all new quad bikes display a warning label alerting riders to the risk of roll over; and within 24 months all new quad bikes must be fitted with an operator protection device (OPD) at the point of sale.
“OPDs have been proven time and time again to shield riders in the event of a rollover preventing life-ending or life-altering injuries.”
Mr Mahar acknowledged the Government, and in particular Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, for officially making the change, and thanked all Members and Senators who listened to the NFF’s concerns and put the safety of farmers first.
“We were also tremendously grateful to be supported in our call for reform by the leading voices of regional Australia and the medical fraternity: NFF Members, Australian Medical Association, Royal College of Surgeons, Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Royal Flying Doctor Service, National Rural Health Alliance, National Rural Women’s Coalition, Country Women’s Association of Australia, and the Australian Workers Union,” Mr Mahar said.
“In the end, the weight of these voices could not be ignored.”
On 10 September the NFF, farmers and its coalition of supporters, took to the lawns of Parliament House to share personal stories of those impacted by quad bikes accidents.
“The demonstration was also a chance to clear up myths about the proposed safety standard, especially in relation to OPDs. For example, that working dogs can’t jump on the back of OPD-fitted bikes,” Mr Mahar said.
Shadow Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones MP and Greens Agriculture spokesperson Senator Janet Rice also spoke to the crowd on the day. On 12 September, the Senate voted in favour of a motion by Senator Rice calling on the Government to act and we thank the respective members of Parliament for their support.
Mr Mahar said risk to life from quad bike rollover was ever present for farmers and urged all quad bike owners not to wait until buying a new quad bike.
“A number of state farming organisations and state governments offer rebates for the cost of fitting OPDs – with or without a rebate the cost of installation is far outstripped by the risk.”
The NFF marks 40 years of leading Australian agriculture this year and Mr Mahar said today’s reform was one for the history books.
“For four decades the NFF has been fighting the good fight on behalf of farmers. There are no more serious issues than protecting the very life our farmers and their families.”
As part of its goal for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030, the NFF has a target for zero farm fatalities by the same year.
“Up to six people per day are rushed to hospital with injuries sustained in quad bike incidents, many of them rollovers.
“The safety standard will save lives and protect farmers from crippling injury and be key to achieving zero farm-related deaths by 2030,” Mr Mahar said.