FARMERS are concerned they will have to foot the bill if crush protection devices (CPDs) on quad bikes become mandatory, following a spate of accidents and deaths on the vehicles.
A 58-year-old Murchison man was killed on Sunday, October 14, after he lost control of a quad bike that was loaded with a trailer of wood, bringing the number of deaths on quad bikes this year to 13.
Worksafe Australia has urged quad bike users to consider fitting CPDs to their vehicles and to always wear a helmet, and on Friday Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten put his support behind the compulsory fitting of the devices on quad bikes.
Boort farmer Neil Beattie said adding CPDs to quad bikes would make them safer, but that he was concerned farmers would be liable for the cost.
“Our costs are growing out of all proportion so we have to be careful and keep on top of them,” he said.
“Governments are very good at shifting cost onto us.”
Mr Beattie said driver safety and education could be improved.
He said he had never had an accident involving a quad bike during the 30 years-plus he had used them on his farm.
“Either there’s a lot more bikes being sold or the education process has gone horribly wrong,” he said.
“They’re fairly safe if you drive them with a bit of care.”
The Victorian Farmers Federation is also opposed the changes.
The VFF estimates fitting CPDs to the nation’s quad bikes will cost $110 million.
“The VFF does not want to see farmers once again wearing regulatory cost of yet another bureaucratic initiative,” Victorian Farmers Federation president Peter Tuohey said.