Dear Ms Simson,
I have been kept informed on the debate regarding the fitting of RPDs to ATVs by Mr George Christensen MP, Federal Member for Dawson and strongly feel I must make a comment.
Our family operate 7 properties which are interlocked for beef breeding and fattening purposes in North and Central Queensland. We adopted ATVs 30 years ago when we recognised the benefits of these machines. Savings of up to $500 a day are regularly achieved when mustering large, heavily timbered paddocks. I do not know what the dollar savings are in time checking waters, fences and patrolling fires, when they are inaccessible to conventional vehicles, but it would be substantial.
We now have 5 ATVs and 2 ag bikes permanently in our operation and consistently turn them over when they reach 25,000 kms resulting in very few problems. ATVs are economical to run and maintain, which helps in the viability of our business. I personally have operated ATVs for at least 100,000 kms with no problems. I have not had any personal experience with RPDs, but I have spoken to operators of ATVs fitted with RPDs from Tasmania, North and Western Queensland and they are suggesting RPDs have increased the risks in timbered country.
I find it ironic that NFF make decisions for farmers they don’t want to support. I contacted NFF seeking information or help regarding compulsory acquisition of my freehold land for the benefit of a foreign multi-national resource company. I could’t get past the front desk because I was not a member of a SFO. But here we see CCA represented on the NFF board when CCA are subsidised in excess of $500,000 every year directly from the $40 million emergency fund which is managed by RMAC which was compulsorily acquired farmer’s levies. CCA also collect approximately $1.2 million of compulsorily acquired farmer’s levies from MLA under the heading of “Services Provision” (whatever that means). The bottom line is, NFF have board members (CCA) with access to my money and NFF won’t talk to me when I get hammered financially by resource companies and then NFF go and hamper me again to the point where ATVs, as we know them, could become unsuitable or unprocurable.
It seems to me the Minister is accepting the views of people with little hands-on experience and little skin in the industry and didn’t even consult with the wider users of ATVs.
What is happening to democracy. We seem to be changing where regulations are being driven from the top down and mandated (not legislated) which stifles debate in Parliament and not democratically driven from the bottom up.
I think it is obvious that ATV (quad bike) manufacturers will have cost increases to comply with new regulations and possibly retreat from the Australian market. Do NFF and Government have plans to overcome this extra financial burden for genuine users, like our grazing business, and the dealerships in struggling rural towns.
I will not even comment on the kelpie dog on the ATV on the lawns of parliament house in Canberra.