FROM tomorrow, Victorian farmers purchasing operator protection devices (OPDs) for their quad bikes or buying a safer alternative vehicle can claim rebates of up to $1200.
Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) vice president, Brett Hosking, encouraged farmers to take advantage of the offer by buying Quadbar or ATV Lifeguard OPDs, or getting a safer vehicle to replace their quad bike.
“It’s vital that farmers protect themselves, their families and their employees from the risks of using quad bikes,” he said.
“Quad bikes are one of the most versatile and durable pieces of equipment on our farms, but with that versatility comes the increased risk of accidents, so we need to do all we can to make them safer or replace them with another vehicle.
“We expect to deliver rebates to more than 5000 farmers over the next two years, but get your applications in quick because if demand is high, the fund will run dry.”
The VFF is administering the State Government’s $6 million Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme and has set up the www.bequadsafe.com.au website to answer farmers’ questions on the scheme and eligibility criteria for the rebate.
Mr Hosking stressed the importance of making an early application to improve the chances of being approved for the scheme.
Eligible farmers can apply for a rebate of either:
- $1200 for the purchase of an alternate vehicle such as a side-by-side vehicle (SSV) or a small utility vehicle (SUV). The alternate vehicle must be designed for use in agriculture and at point of sale have rollover protection and a fitted seatbelt. Sport vehicles and small commercial vehicles, such as utes, are excluded.
- Up to $600 for the purchase of up to two operator protection devices (OPD). The OPD must have been designed and manufactured in accordance with approved engineering standards and independently tested to be eligible for the rebate. There are currently two OPD devices that meet these criteria and are eligible for the rebate. They are the Quadbar and the ATV Lifeguard.
Applications for the Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme open tomorrow, October 1, but any farmer who has purchased an OPD or alternative vehicle from September 1 onwards can be eligible for the rebate.
NSW already has a rebate program operating that offers rebates up to $500 that can go towards the purchase of compliant helmets, OPDs including rollover bars, the purchase of a safer vehicle such as a side-by-side vehicle, and training courses tailored to farmers. The NSW rebate will be available until June 30, 2017.
Tocal College at Paterson in the Hunter Valley has been awarded the contract to deliver 100 quad bike-training courses across NSW as part of the SafeWork NSW Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program.
In 2015, there were 21 quad bike fatalities in Australia (6 in Victoria, 4 each in Queensland, Western Australia and NSW, 3 each in Queensland and Tasmania, and 1 in the Northern Territory). Just over half (11) of the fatalities in 2015 were workplace related and the remaining (10) were recreational. Just over half (11) of the deaths were related to rollovers.
Further information on the NSW rebate program is available at www.safework.nsw.gov.au
Further details on farmer eligibility for the Victorian scheme can be found at www.bequadsafe.com.au or by calling the VFF on 1300 945 030 for an application.