The state member of parliament for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, fears that country vehicle owners aren’t getting a fair enough hearing in the debate over bullbars.
He said he wants the authorities to give “rural and regional motorists a permanent exemption on the soon-to-be banned five-post bullbars”.
These heavy-duty protections for the fronts of vehicles have been criticised because they are unnecessary in urban areas and can cause serious injury in crashes with pedestrians. They may have become fashion accessories for inner-city hipsters..
Mr Marshall’s campaign comes ahead of a deadline next year for owners of bullbars to comply with what he calls “arbitrary Australian Design Rules”. Those with the bigger, five-bar bullbars after the deadline will face heavy fines.
Mr Marshall said: “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.
“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.
“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 1 January 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.