Moree Plains Shire Councillors have deferred participation in the Grain Harvest Management Scheme for 2017 due to a lack of data from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).
Under the Grain Harvest Management Scheme (GHMS) eligible vehicles and combinations may exceed the regulated total mass limits and axle/axle group mass limits by up to five per cent when delivering certain grains to participating grain receivers.
A recommendation for councillors to opt in or out of the scheme was brought to Thursday’s ordinary meeting, for the fourth year since its inception.
However, it was noted at the meeting by council’s cautious engineering department that they hadn’t received any data outlining the results of last year’s scheme as promised by Transport NSW and RMS.
The moved recommendation, suggested by Cr Mike Montgomery, stated that the council defer participation in the Grain Harvest Management Scheme pending receipt of the data requested be made available to council staff for their confidential use to assist in grant fund submissions and transport analysis.
Fellow Cr John Tramby said the scheme was created to give leeway to grain trucks which may have been loaded in the paddock late at night, or during a busy time, throughout harvest.
“This was designed so if trucks weighed in a fraction over they didn’t have to turn back home with a full load. It is a very narrow window but we know it is necessary; as long as everyone plays by the rules and holds up their end of the deal,” he said.
Last year council staff spoke with a representative from Transport NSW to explain how vital the data collected was to council being able to maintain high production roads throughout the shire.
Verbal assurance was received that data would be available in the near future, however it did not eventuate leaving council in the dark.
Director of engineering Ian Dinham said the council was aware of the impacts additional axle weight had on local road networks.
“The road network is so important to the primary industries of Moree Plains Shire and council has to do all it can to preserve the best possible road network,” he said.
MPSC have notified RMS of their decision and have requested the data from last year’s scheme.