News and Views

Be quad safe, says VFF

Farmers are being called on to tap into the Be Quad Safe website to claim up to $1200 in rebates on quad bike operator protection devices (OPDs), side-by-side (SSV) and other alternate vehicles.

The Victorian Farmers Federation has teamed up with WorkSafe Victoria to deliver the $6 million Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme, which is expected to deliver rebates to more than 5000 farmers over the next two years.

“Farmers should get in early and take this opportunity to protect their families, workers and of course themselves from the risks of using quad bikes,” VFF vice-president Brett Hosking said.

“It’s an undeniable fact that quad bikes are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment on our farms, and we should all be doing what we can to make them safer or replace them with another vehicle.”

Under the Scheme rebates will be available on purchases made on and after September 1 2016, with farmers able to lodge applications to claim the rebate from October 1.

“While the VFF has been tasked to administer this scheme it’s open to all farmers,” Mr Hosking said.

“Rebates of up to $600 can be claimed on the two eligible OPDs – the Quadbar and the ATV Lifeguard – as well as a $1200 rebate on alternate vehicles.”

While there’s been some debate on the issue, Mr Hosking said the VFF and WorkSafe had settled on defining an alternate vehicle as:

An agricultural side-by-side vehicle (SSV) or small utility vehicle, which differs from a quad bike in a number of ways. They typically can accommodate two-six occupants, have roll-over protection, have seat belts and a cargo box at the rear of the vehicle.

To be eligible for the rebate an alternate vehicle must be designed for use in agriculture, and at point of sale have rollover protection and a fitted seatbelt.

Importantly sport vehicles and small commercial vehicles, such as utes are excluded.

“There’s obviously a bit of cross-over here, but we’re not going to be handing out rebates on vehicles that are obviously designed for sport not farming,” Mr Hosking said. “And you can’t claim the rebate on purchasing second-hand vehicles.”

All rebates will be available from 1 October 2016 for a period of two years or until the funds are exhausted – whichever occurs first. Rebates will also be allocated on a first-in first-served basis to eligible applicants with complete applications.

Mr Hosking said the rebate had been restricted two types of OPD, as they had been designed and manufactured in accordance with approved engineering standards and independently tested to be eligible for the rebate.

“While many farmers are pretty damned good welders, I’m sorry to say you can’t just bend up a bit of bar, bolt it on the bike and claim a $600 rebate,” Mr Hosking said.

“I’m sure that as time goes on other OPD manufacturers might come along, but for now it’s just the Quadbar and ATV Lifeguard.”

The VFF is still in the process of recruiting administrative staff and building the secure site and application forms for the scheme.