Drones will join the Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program (QBSI Program) as part of an extra $2.8 million dollars in farm safety funding announced recently from the State Government.
The QBSI program now includes a rebate for one drone per eligible business and an extra $1.25 million to continue the quad bike safety rebates program for the next 2 years. NSW Farmers raised the concept of including the purchase of new drones in the QBSI program last year after hosting a series of drone training sessions for farmers, which identified the safety benefits of this flying farm management tool.
NSW Farmers President James Jackson says the announcement from the Minister for Better Regulation, Matt Kean, should be applauded as an innovative step forward for farm safety.
“Recent improvements in technology, user friendliness and price points are making drones more adaptable to commercial farm use,” said Mr Jackson.
“While it is not a common farm tool as yet, farmers who have experienced using a drone at our training sessions are quickly drawn to it and can see significant potential for drones to replace other tools and vehicles on farm for certain tasks such as checking on fences, dams and stock, silo inspections, weed control and sheep mustering.”
The QBSI program continues to offer two rebates worth up to $1,000 each to replace an existing quad bike with a side by side vehicle (SSV), or have it fitted with Operator Protective Device (OPD), as well as a free helmet. The QBSI program also includes free regional quad bike training.
“This highly successful program is progressively changing attitudes and behaviours towards quad bike use , generating significant safety investment on farm and gradually driving down quad bike related injury and fatality rates,” Mr Jackson said.
NSW Farmers will continue to press for the introduction of a safety rating scheme of quad bikes and SSVs to help farmers make a better informed decision at the point of purchase.
Farmers can apply for the existing quad bike rebates, which include the new $500 drone rebate from end of February, on the NSW Farmers website. NSW Farmers is administering the quad bike safety rebates program on behalf of SafeWork NSW. For more information visit www.nswfarmers.org.au, www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50.
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