The Victorian Farmers Federation has handed out more than $1 million in safety rebates since October in a major milestone for the Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme.The $6 million State Government program, which is being jointly managed by the farmer group and WorkSafe Victoria, opened five months ago and aims to improve farm safety by offering a rebate to primary producers who fit operator protection devices (OPDs) to their quad bikes.
VFF Vice President Brett Hosking urged people to take advantage of the program before the money runs out.
“With $1 million already spent on the program it’s not going to last very long, so you better get in quick if you want to fit an OPD or upgrade to a safer vehicle,” Mr Hosking said.
“The fact that we’ve seen such a fantastic uptake in the rebate shows how seriously farm safety is being taken by Victorian primary producers, because OPDs are vital to protect farmers, their families, and their workers from the risks of using quad bikes.”
According to WorkSafe statistics, almost 30 per cent of workplace deaths in Victoria occur on farms, despite a mere three per cent of workers being employed in the agriculture industry.
“Ten farmers every week are injured seriously enough to make a worker’s compensation claim,” Mr Hosking said.
“It’s incredibly serious and this program encourages farmers to take proactive steps in safeguarding against the risks of injury while using quad bikes.”
All rebates will be available for a period of two years or until the funds are exhausted. Rebates will also be allocated on a first-in first-served basis to eligible applicants with complete applications.
Farmers can tap into the VFF’s www.bequadsafe.com.au website to claim up to $1200 (GST exempt) in rebates on OPDs, side-by-side (SSV) and other alternate vehicles.
“The scheme is open to all farmers and we’re hoping to process more than 5,000 applications over the lifetime of the program,” Mr Hosking said.
“This is a great indication of how the program is being received.”