Letter by property owner to National Farmers Federation

2nd August, 2018

Dear George,

     You may be aware the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have initiated a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement to determine a safety standard for ATVs, and is proposing engineering changes to All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), including the factory fitment of Crush Protective Devices (CPDs).

     ATVs offer unique transport solutions in technical/off-road terrain and are critical to the tasks, terrain and profitability of my business. I am a regular ATV rider and I am of the opinion that CPDs can cause as many injuries as they may prevent. To my knowledge no credible evidence has been produced to show that CPD fitment would improve ATV safety.

      There has been much discussion in the local community that ATV manufacturers will probably only fit CPDs to their vehicles when evidence that they improve safety is presented. This could mean that if the ACCC proposal is passed, ATVs may not be imported into Australia in the future. So the proposal will restrict availability of the most useful vehicle on my property. There is no simple replacement vehicle for the types of tasks and terrains that I deal with every day, and suggesting I can switch to a SSV or other vehicle is not practical, or necessarily any safer.

     I also note that the ACCC will not guarantee that ATVs will be safer with CPDs, or that their fitment will reduce deaths. It seems likely that when CPD fitment fails to limit fatalities, ACCC may act to ban ATVs altogether. So I urge you not to support this proposal.

     A second ACCC proposal being put forward is for ATVs to have an open-differential. Currently the solid axle on my ATV offers consistent and predictable drive in slippery and hilly terrain, I fail to see any safety benefit in requiring open differentials on ATVs.

     As an ATV user, I understand the importance of safety, but CPDs and open differentials are not the solution. It appears as though farmers are being used in a live experiment with real people to see if these engineering proposals will work, I don’t want to be a guinea pig in this experiment.

     There are other solutions being put forward as a result of recent coronial inquests around wearing helmets, and ensuring only appropriate riders are allowed on adult size and single seat ATVs that need proper consideration.

     If possible I would like to meet with you to discuss the ways of improving ATV safety on rural properties like mine. 

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Rea
Eton Vale
MS 239

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