Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall is demanding a fairer go for bullbar owners in the bush, today launching a campaign to allow rural and regional motorists a permanent exemption on the soon-to-be banned five-post bullbars.
Mr Marshall’s campaign comes ahead of a September 2018 deadline for owners of bullbars non-compliant with the arbitrary Australian Design Rules to replace the devices or risk heavy fines or prosecution.
“Bullbars are essential for many people living in rural areas, protecting vehicles and, more importantly, protecting people’s lives, especially on our country roads with huge numbers of kangaroos and other animals around,” Mr Marshall said.
“I understand that heavy duty bullbars could pose a risk on inner city streets, but they are a legitimate safety device on our country roads.”
In 2014, following a compliance blitz by the NSW Police, Mr Marshall took up the issue with the then Roads Minister Duncan Gay, who announced a special ‘Ministerial exemption order’ to give people time to ensure their bullbars were compliant with the Australian Design Rules. Recently, this was further extended to September next year.
“I’m calling for this exemption to be made permanent for vehicles registered in country NSW, to give our motorists certainty and peace of mind about the future,” Mr Marshall said.
“We’re always going to have kangaroos and other wildlife on our region’s roads, hence there will always be a need for motorists to fit heavy duty bullbars.
“Some city people think it’s about a fashion accessory on your vehicle, but they’re not, they’re essential out here. Country motorists shouldn’t be punished for wanting to protect their families and their vehicles.”
Mr Marshall said a permanent exemption would allow the continuation of a “degree of tolerance” from the Australian Design Rules for vehicle frontal protection systems, which were enacted by regulation on January 1, 2003.
“The tolerances in the exemption have been working well the last few years and I want to see that continued indefinitely,” he said.
“In the past, motorists in our region have been subject to a compliance campaign and non-one wants to see a return to that situation.”
Mr Marshall said he would be taking up the issue during the next fortnight’s Parliamentary sitting period.