MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My adjournment matter this evening is for the minister responsible for WorkSafe, Robin Scott, the Minister for Finance in the other place. In June a farmer died in my electorate of Western Victoria Region as a result of a quad bike accident. The farmer, in his 60s, died as a result of being crushed by his quad bike when it rolled over. As often happens, this farmer was working alone and was not found for quite some time.
South-west farmers are eight times more likely to die on the job than workers in any other industry. Three south-west farmers died in vehicle-related accidents and 49 more were injured in the past five years, according to a national report released by Safe Work Australia. These vehicles were primarily quad bikes and tractors. Quad bikes are the biggest cause of death on Australian farms, and over half of those are due to bikes rolling over. The rider is invariably pinned and dies as a result of asphyxiation or because of crush injuries. Last year 22 people died in quad bike accidents. In Victoria two farmers have died this year while working with quad bikes, but there are also many more serious injuries as a result of quad bike accidents. My constituent was older, but WorkSafe statistics show that quad bike accidents impact on all ages, including the very young.
WorkSafe Victoria has launched a new, extremely confronting safety campaign highlighting the dangers of quad bikes to increase workplace safety on farms and reduce fatalities and serious injuries from these accidents. There are around 33 000 farms in Victoria, and many farmers use these bikes in highly varied conditions. Quad bikes are what are called ATVs — all-terrain vehicles — and this title is in many ways a misnomer, because quad bike accidents are often caused by problems with terrain, in many cases in apparently innocuous circumstances, often at lower speeds.
The government has taken strong action to tackle this issue, with the launch of a $6 million quad bike safety rebate scheme from 1 September. Rebates are available for safer vehicles such as side-by-side vehicles or small utilities. The action I am seeking from the minister is that he provide me with an update on the range of strategies that are being employed to reduce farm accidents, in particular those associated with quad bikes, and also on the rate of take-up of the rebate scheme in farming communities. I also seek that any materials in relation to the scheme be provided to my electorate office so that my constituents can be further informed about whether they are eligible for the rebate.