VICTORIA’S quad bike rebate has been extended for nine months and to small operators for the first time, to help Victorian farmers improve safety on their properties.
The Andrews Labor Government said for the first time farmers with other businesses, who do not operate properties as their primary source of income, will also have access to the rebate following a change to the scheme’s eligibility criteria.
Small operators will now have access to the $600 rebate to fit rollover protection to up to two quad bikes, or a $1200 rebate to purchase a more suitable safer option, such as a side-by-side vehicle.
However, the scheme’s extension has come with a warning from WorkSafe. WorkSafe executive director Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said WorkSafe inspectors will issue enforcement notices wherever they see an employer has not taken reasonably practicable steps to reduce the risks of serious injury, or death, due to quad bike rollovers.
There is about $1.4 million remaining in the rebate scheme’s coffers, with eligible farmers able to lodge a claim until June 30 2020.
More than $4.5 million has been paid out to farmers since the joint Victorian Farmers Federation and WorkSafe Victoria scheme was introduced in 2016 as part of a dedicated campaign to reduce injuries and deaths on farms. This included 2794 rebates for operator protection devices and 2168 for a side-by-side vehicle.
WorkSafe is also continuing its quad bike safety and enforcement campaign to ensure employers are meeting obligations to protect their workers while the rebate remains available. The 2018-19 financial year was the first to record no workplace related quad bike fatalities since the rebate scheme and enforcement campaign was introduced in 2016. WorkSafe visited farms 1273 times in 2018-19 and issued 339 enforcement notices relating to the use of quad bikes. Farming employers must take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the risks of quad bike rollovers, which can expose workers to life-threatening crush injuries.
Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy said farmers must ensure they take every opportunity to control the risks of quad bike rollovers on their properties.
“Farms continue to be one of the deadliest workplaces so we strongly encourage all farmers to help keep themselves, their families and their employees safe, by checking if they are eligible for the rebate.
“We know that this scheme is helping save lives, because a quad bike rollover can happen anytime, even on terrain farmers are very familiar with and have covered many times before,” he said.
Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes said the government was listening to those on the ground – like the Victorian Farmers Federation and the National Centre for Farmer Health. She said taking action on this scheme that will save lives and keep our farmers safe at work.
Click here for more information and to see if you are eligible.