Farmers have welcomed the launch of a new trial scheme to help first responders fight bushfires.
Under the new scheme, Farm Fire Units (FFUs) – or private vehicles used for firefighting purposes – can now be driven unregistered, provided certain conditions are met.
NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee member Garry Grant heralded the win in the campaign for common sense on FFUs, and applauded Transport for NSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service for facilitating the trial, which would inform future options for these critical units.
“Stopping fires as soon as we can is essential, and farmers play a key role in these firefighting efforts in rural communities,” Mr Grant said.
“It’s pleasing to see our calls for the legal use of FFUs heard, as these vehicles have proved critical for farmers during many recent bushfires.”
Farm Fire Units were a common implement on many farms, usually consisting of a small truck, ute or trailer carrying a tank of water that could be rapidly deployed when a fire broke out.
According to Mr Grant, the trial was a positive first step towards increased safety and peace of mind for many farmers across the state. Farmers were often first responders to fires in rural areas, he said, but until now many of these vehicles could not be legally driven on roads.
“Being able to use these vehicles legally and under the protection of third-party insurance would be the ultimate goal of this trial, which we welcome as the hot weather continues,” Mr Grant said.
“If the trial is successful and FFUs can be operated while unregistered into the future, this would provide the clarity and assurance farmers have been looking for when operating these vehicles along public roads.”
With bushfire season now in full swing, Mr Grant encouraged farmers to nominate eligible vehicles to participate in the trial before it concluded on March 31.
“If you’ve got a vehicle that’s in a safe operating condition and has firefighting equipment permanently attached, you can nominate it for the trial for use within a 100km radius of its storage address,” Mr Grant said.
“Farmers should have the tools available at their disposal to safely and effectively fight fires on or near their properties, and this trial is taking us one step closer to ensuring that.”
To nominate a vehicle for the trial, complete the trial nomination form on the NSW Roads website, complete the trial nomination form and provide two photographs of the nominated vehicle. For further information, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visit your nearest Service NSW Service Centre.
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