Last year’s Load Restraint Education Project was announced as the winner of the Local Government Award for Excellence in Road Safety at a gala dinner in Parliament in Canberra last week.

The awards are presented annually by IPWEA NSW & ACT (The Public Works Engineering Institute of Australasia) and aim to endorse and recognize excellence in local government and public works projects. This year, there were over 100 nominations in all eight categories.

The Load Restraint Education Project was led by Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Council Road Safety and Injury Prevention Manager, Melanie Suitor, who accepted the award on behalf of the project team.

“The project has increased load-holding knowledge, reduced violations by almost 70% and zero load-holding incidents were recorded on our local roads in 2021.

“The project was a team effort, we worked together with NSW Police, NSW Farmers and Transport for NSW to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate the project. Thank you to all members of the project steering committee for your support and hard work.

“Thank you also to the Australian Federal Government, which funded the project through the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, administered by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR). We couldn’t have done this project if we hadn’t received the grant,” Ms. Suitor said.

The project involved an online awareness quiz before and after, explanatory videos and fact sheets, local case studies and the charge-holding village tour. He focused on the safe transport of hay bales, machinery and general freight.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto congratulated the councils of Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire for completing such a valuable project for the heavy-duty industry.

“It’s fantastic to see the Load Restraint Education Project being recognized for improving safety in the heavy vehicle industry and for all road users,” said Petroccitto.

NSW Farmers Regional Services Manager Catriona McAuliffe said the project has extended what is already a very good working relationship between all project partners.

“By developing the videos and other resources and then taking them to the 12 villages in the three counties, we were able to access more farmers at times and places that were more convenient for them.

“We were able to show how essential good quality restraint systems and their proper use are for the safety of our products and equipment, the drivers of the vehicles and the road users with whom we share the roads,” said Mrs. McAuliffe.

Sergeant Martin Ling of Parkes Highway Patrol said working with the other project partners meant the team was able to use the expertise of all agencies to arm motorists with the right information – making their lives more easier and the lives of road users safer.

“Being on the road every day has shown us improved compliance with load restraint systems on trucks and fewer incidents caused by insufficiently restrained loads. Also, knowing that we were able to educate a lot of people on safe and proper load restraints meant they were less likely to be fined or have to go to court,” said said Sergeant Ling.

Transport for NSW Director West Alistair Lunn said the local government’s road safety program has been operating in NSW for 30 years and Transport for NSW fully supports the collaborative road safety work that this underpins.

“Transport for NSW works closely with council road safety officers to achieve a wide range of road safety outcomes across New South Wales. We are proud to work with councils on collaborative heavy vehicle safety and load restraint initiatives to achieve the best safety results,” said Lunn.

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