Wine industry receives $226,888 to help make trucks safer

wine industry

A new code of practice for the safer transportation of grapes on heavy vehicles is being developed with the help of a $226,888 grant from the NHVR.

The funds are from the latest round of the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative and are administered by the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) in partnership with Australian Grape & Wine Inc (AGW).

SAWIA chief executive Brian Smedley said heavy vehicle use was a key part of the wine supply chain.

“At a large winery in the Riverland wine region in South Australia, for example, there can be up to 10,000 truck deliveries over an eight-week vintage period,” Smedley said.

“We know there were 30 grape spills in Barossa and Riverland in 2019. Across Australia, that number would be much higher. These spills constitute a public safety risk and methods for reducing that risk must be explored.”

He said the Chain of Responsibility obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law include ensuring that goods are not overloaded, that they are secured properly and that drivers are not encouraged or pressured to speed or drive while fatigued.

“Of particular concern are grape spills on public roads which can create a community safety hazard.”

The SAWIA and the AGW said the code will take two years to finish with the first round of industry engagement meetings to be carried out across SA between November 9 and December 17.

Sessions in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia will follow in 2021.

Following these meetings, a draft Wine Industry Code of Practice will be created and released for industry feedback.

A final Wine Industry Code of Practice will be released by the end of 2021.

Stage two of the project will see training delivered across the 23 regions in 2022-23, to ensure all members of the wine supply chain understand the practical steps they can take to meet their heavy vehicle obligations.

AGW Chief Executive Tony Battaglene said the project was an opportunity for the Australian wine industry to be at the centre of the development of the code of practice.

“This is a great opportunity for all members of the wine industry to collaborate to develop measures that can be adopted nationally to ensure the safe transportation of grapes, byproducts and finished wine on public roads, so that we comply with the Chain of Responsibility laws,” Battaglene said.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said heavy vehicle safety is everyone’s responsibility.

“Through local safety programs, supported by local experts, we can make our roads safer for all road users,” Petroccitto said.

“We’re looking forward to working with the South Australian Wine Industry Association and Australian Grape & Wine to deliver safety outcomes for all road users in grape growing regions of Australia.”

More details about the South Australian industry consultation are available here.

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