ROADS Minister Duncan Gay kicked off a week of visits from the state cabinet yesterday when he came to Orange to announce increased weight limits for stock trucks.
It’s a policy he says will have a greater effect on the state’s farmers and livestock carriers than any other initiative of the O’Farrell government so far.
“I think this is an announcement I’ve looked forward to than almost any other,” Mr Gay said.
“Doesn’t sound exciting but if you’re part of the industry, part of the country, it will make a huge difference.”
The policy will bring NSW in line with the rest of the country, with B-double livestock trucks able to carry up to 72 cattle with the new Higher Mass Limits (HML) cap of 68 tonnes compared to the exisiting 62.5 tonnes for General Mass Limits or 64.5 for Concessional Mass Limits (CML).
“It will be better for livestock because at the moment there is so much extra space in there that they move around,” Mr Gay said.
NSW Farmers vice-president Peter Darley said the change would give producers flexibility and cost savings, but was unlikely to benefit smaller operators moving livestock to the saleyards.
Both Mr Gay and member for Orange Andrew Gee were confident the increased weight limits would not make roads more dangerous - instead road users would benefit from less trucks on the road and the industry will save 15 per cent.
“It doesn’t do harm to the roads because of the type of vehicles being used and the [driver] training we’ve put in place,” Mr Gay said.
He said the trucks were already designed for the extra weight, while bridges that cannot withstand the extra weight will be marked.