Australian Safety Agency Steps Up Four-Wheeler Safety Campaign

SafeWork New South Wales' Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program includes a $2 million dollar rebate package to encourage farmers to adopt preventive strategies and equipment.

SafeWork New South Wales, the safety agency with jurisdiction in the most populous Australian state, is stepping up its efforts to increase safety on farms in the state. Its latest budget includes a $2 million package to reduce four-wheeler injuries and fatalities farms, and the agency is beginning a Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program in July.

Four-wheelers are a leading cause of death on Australian properties, with 220 deaths during the past 16 years with thousands of seriously injuries associated with them, according to SafeWork NSW. The new program includes a $2 million dollar rebate package to encourage farmers to adopt prevention strategies to protect their workers, family members, and themselves.

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello called it the country's most comprehensive program of its kind. "Quad bike-related injuries and fatalities are at an unacceptable level. Every death is one too many and has devastating effects on families and communities," he said. "What we are doing is balancing the regulatory burden on farmers with raising the bar on safety by improving awareness and providing practical assistance. We know there are around 200,000 quad bikes in operation across Australia in both a commercial and recreational capacity, and this program is a step forward to reducing injuries and saving lives."

"We hope this rebate will go a long way in reducing quad bike related injuries and deaths by introducing safer practices," NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian added.

The NSW Government will be offering rebates of up to $500 toward the purchase of compliant helmets, Operator Protective Devices, the purchase of a safer vehicle (such as a side-by-side vehicle), and taking training courses tailored to farmers. The agency funded an innovative, $1.3 million testing and research program three years ago on four-wheelers, and its recommendations were considered as part of New South Wales and Queensland Coronial Inquiries into four-wheeler deaths last year.

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