VFF has renewed calls to improve farm safety following a recent spike in quad bike accidents across the country, including eight fatalities in 2017.
The Victorian Farmers Federation has led the charge to reduce the rate of quad accidents by rolling out a $6 million State Government program to encourage farmers to upgrade their equipment.
The program, which allows farmers to score a rebate of up to $600 to fit an operator protection device on their quad bike (with a maximum of two available per farm) or $1,200 to upgrade to a more secure vehicle, has so far seen more than $1.7 million handed out in rebates.
VFF Vice President Brett Hosking said demand for the rebate remained high, with the farmer group approving an average of 50 applications each week.
“Quad bikes are the biggest cause of death on Australian farms and over half of those are due to the bikes rolling over – crushing or asphyxiating the rider,” VFF Vice President Brett Hosking said.
“The program sends a message to farmers that it is vital that they protect themselves, their families and their employees from the risks of using quad bikes.”
But Mr Hosking said improving quad bike safety was only one step in the VFF’s mission to increase safety precautions across the agricultural industries.
“Almost a third of workplace deaths in Victoria happen on farms even though the agriculture industry only employs three per cent of Victorian workers, which is an alarming statistic,” he said.
“It’s a fact that goes unrecognised, and farmers need to be constantly reminded of the reality that we do a dangerous job that requires precaution.”
The VFF made a firm commitment to improve awareness for farm safety procedures among its 10,000 farmer members.
Farm safety has been a constant feature at the VFF’s Farmer Forums, which have been underway since April 2017 and form part of the farm lobby’s strategy to improve engagement with its base.