A STORM is brewing between CBH, the State Government and the Main Roads Department (MRD) after an impasse was reached last week during negotiations on vehicle tolerance levels under controversial new Chain of Responsibility law.
Transport Minister Alannah MacTiernan has refused to budge, telling CBH she will continue supporting a zero tolerance limit for the proposed model legislation.
Parliament is expected to pass the new laws soon after next harvest.
Ms MacTiernan¹s hardball stance comes despite compelling statistics from the 2006 harvest that showed growers and transporters had dramatically improved their behaviour and demonstrated overwhelming compliance to the CBH-initiated Harvest Mass Management Scheme (HMMS).
CBH received written notice from Ms MacTiernan late last month saying she would stand by a zero tolerance limit based on the 2003 National Road Transport Reform Compliance and Enforcement model legislation, which was designed to streamline and improve compliance to road transport laws.
But CBH believes the grain industry needs more flexibility and introduced the HMMS last year as a proactive method of illustrating to State Government it was able to self-regulate.
The scheme was opposed by many growers during its formative stages but despite objections proved to be an overwhelming success.
CBH statistics showed significant improvements with on-farm loading performances.
CBH contributed the higher than expected compliance levels to a combination of a low-tonnage year and a positive attitude from growers.
Under HMMS, offending growers have the option of dumping their overloaded grain offsite or into a common pool before re-presenting it to weigh.
The scheme will remain in place this harvest with minor adjustments.
CBH supply chain strategy manager Rob Voysey said he was extremely disappointed with the minister¹s response considering last year¹s results.
Mr Voysey said he was particularly concerned the minister was getting filtered information from MRD in regards to the scheme.
He questioned the State Government¹s position, considering HMMS had improved safety standards and provided greater flexibility for growers.
³One of the problems we face is that some of the information flowing through to the minister is being skewed,² Mr Voysey said.
³I don¹t think it is being done deliberately, but certainly the message is not getting through accurately and as a result the minister is not very well informed.
³I am also frustrated that we have not had the opportunity to meet the minister and discuss our concerns direct.
³This issue is coming to a head now and there¹s no doubt about it.²