Calls for imported machinery blitz

11 Aug, 2012 02:00 AM

MACHINERY manufacturers and distributors have called for a crack-down on the importation of unsafe, non-compliant equipment by individuals and outside agencies.

Industry leaders at the Tractor and Machinery Association (TMA) conference in Melbourne called on workplace authorities to do more to prevent the importation of equipment that didn’t meet Australian standards.

TMA executive director Richard Lewis said the efforts of manufacturers and suppliers to ensure their machines met Australia’s stringent occupational health and safety standards were being undermined by the importation of non-compliant gear.

He said the weakness in the current system was the low rate of checking by authorities and the readiness of farmers to unknowingly, or knowingly, acquire equipment that failed to meet safety standards.

“People can go to China and import anything they like and until it hurts someone no-one pays attention to it. That is just not right,” he said.

“Our members are putting a lot of money and effort into making sure they have products that are safe.

“Other people who are out there importing containers or buying equipment on the internet aren’t paying any attention to that. The system is all out of whack.”

Mr Lewis said he welcomed a move by authorities to place greater responsibility for safety compliance on end-users and to increase monitoring.

“The focus is now heading towards farmers having more responsibility and the workplace authorities are looking at farmers a lot more closely than they have in the past,” he said.

“I think as an industry we have done a really good job of getting safe product out there and embracing the whole issue of risk with on-farm plant and machinery but we have to get the end users to come on board and somehow distinguish between the safe product and unsafe product.”

Farm and Industrial Machinery Dealers Association Victorian chairman, Ian Goding, Melbourne, said the industry had been pushing for some time for authorities to do more to prevent the importation of sub-standard machinery.

“We have been pressing WorkCover to attack this sort of thing and they have taken on some specific requests from us to pursue some things and there have been some successful prosecutions. But it is a very slow wheel,” he said.

“WorkCover is plagued with trying to not only address the issue but take it to an achievable prosecution. It is a long, slow path.”

Mr Goding said the machinery industry had been particularly concerned about the influx of cheap, Asian-produced product into the small end of the market and the importation of used equipment that often failed to comply with Australian standards, such as tractors not having roll bars.

“We expect to see those issues followed through to the end user. There is a lot of ignorance with the end user who purchases the equipment not knowing it is highly illegal in the marketplace,” he said.

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11/08/2012 5:47:16 AM

If this about genuine concern for safety or is it about protecting markup's? In any case if you employ no one none of your equipment has to comply with any OHS rules and I am sure customs re not going to be concerned about things like roll bars as they can be fitted at a later stage... Sounds like the safety issue is a red herring...
john from tamworth
11/08/2012 6:30:47 AM

These people are nothing more than rent seekers trying to reduce competition for their own exclusive benefit by rolling out the safety chestnut.
Love the country
11/08/2012 6:38:28 AM

Funny that people want to go straight to the manufacturer . Someone I know wanted a small tractor of a certain well known brand, price in Perth $39,990. Brought direct overseas for ( delPerth ) for $10,000. It's seems the powers that be tell farmers what they get for produce, and now tell them what they will pay for machinery . Is that free trade, what a root if it is, or is it plain greed.
Vijverpompen In Almere
13/08/2012 5:40:58 PM

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17/08/2012 12:23:05 PM

Frank Its a shame you think this is not an issue - I am getting a call each week from unsuspecting farmers that have bought product from a local importer to find the tractor is defective - hydraulic tanks leaking, wheel nuts snapping off and brakes not operational - sadly they're only comeback is the Courts which will cost them more than the tractor. How good a deal is the tractor now and if they are stuck with it, who is going to fix it or trade it back? Value comes in many forms and a standard for saftey and design will fix the problem and keep the rubbish out of the country.
18/08/2012 2:31:31 PM

Are you guys seriuos ...There has many court Cases on equipment that has been sold that has caused seriuos human damage approved roll bars no guarding no correct safety manuals This a time bomb waiting to explode I am all for free trade and more competition but guys be very careful as most of this cheap no name gear will be worth zip in years to come. Plus the added problem of who the hell is supporting these orphans .......The Car and Truck companies have this covered by ADR rules....I wonder why??? ..Lets hope these guys lift there game cause if they dont .. there will be heartache,,


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