Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke today welcomed the NSW Government’s new improved access for heavy vehicles carrying supplies and stock to drought-affected areas.

The new NSW Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice, which will come into effect by 15 August, will allow more hay to be transported per truckload, reducing costs for farmers.

Ms Cooke said with 100 per cent of NSW in drought, the NSW Nationals and Liberals are working hard to reduce costs for farmers.

“Freight is a major cost for farmers so I welcome this adjustment from the Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey.

“We recognise there has been a greater demand to transport hay in the Cootamundra electorate because of ongoing drought conditions.

“We also know freight is a huge cost, so the more hay we can get on one load the cheaper it is for our farmers,” she said.

“The new notice means farmers who’ve been having trouble moving hay should now find it much easier to get it to the places it is needed most.

“The NSW Nationals and Liberals have committed more than $1 billion in drought assistance to date. This is another step designed to help farmers in the Cootamundra electorate at this difficult time,” she added.

Drought applications are being prioritised through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) portal, by including the word DROUGHT in the reference section of the application.

The new NSW Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice will:

  • Allow eligible vehicles transporting hay to travel under notice and without a permit, including B-doubles up to 26 metres long
  • Up to 2.83 metres wide on all approved roads
  • Up to 4.6 metres high, on the approved 4.6 metre high network
  • On a case-by-case basis, allow access permits for road trains on roads not currently approved for road trains
  • On a case-by-case basis, provide access permits for trucks transporting loads of hay in excess of 4.6 metres high
  • Refund or waive National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and Roads and Maritime permit fees for drought relief applications

A dedicated hotline (1800 952 292) and website (www.rms.nsw.gov.au/drought-freight) will address any questions or queries transport operators or farmers may have.