After years of lobbying from the Victorian Nationals and the Victorian Farmers Federation, the Andrews Labor Government will finally address flawed licensing requirements that meant farmers were being forced to obtain irrelevant certifications to operate telehandlers.
Currently, farmers using telehandlers weighing more than three tonnes require a dogging ticket and crane licence, which combined take at least eight days to complete.
The Nationals have backed farmers and the industry in campaigning for the government to create a specific course for telehandlers – as exists in other states – that reflects how they are used on-farm.
Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has consistently written to responsible ministers and spoken in Parliament about the issue over the past three and a half years.
She said it was high time the Labor Government listened to the industry and developed a specific telehandler licence.
“The Minister for Workplace Safety had previously advised that WorkSafe was consulting with the industry to develop a specific one-day course for telehandlers, but late last year the government stepped back from its commitment and instead said such a course was only ‘under consideration’,” she said.
“Telehandlers have become a common method for safely moving hay and shifting grain, however regulation in Victoria has not kept up with how they are being used in agricultural settings.
“Farmers support the need for training to ensure telehandlers are used safely, but the current onerous and expensive licence requirements mean farmers are being taught to operate equipment and complete tasks that are completely irrelevant to what they do on a day-to-day basis.
“I congratulate local farmers and the VFF on their strong advocacy for these necessary changes. It should not have taken more than three years for the Andrews Labor Government to do what farmers and the industry have been telling them they needed all along.”