A trucking company has paid the price for helping drought-affected farmers.
A trucking company has paid the price for helping drought-affected farmers. Kirstin Payne

$10k fine for company helping drought-affected farmers

A HEAVY vehicle trucking company carting donated hay bound for drought-stricken farmers in western Queensland has been fined $10,000.

Norseve Pty Ltd, the parent company of PK's Truckwise which operates out of Mackay, was ordered to pay the fine after director Peter Kenneth Lewis pleaded guilty on behalf of the company in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The company had four charges in relation to a b-double carrying hay being overloaded and that the gates to secure the load were either missing or not properly fitted.

Anthony Louden, prosecutor for the Department of Main Roads and Transport, said transport inspectors intercepted a b-double belonging to the company on the Bruce Hwy at Rockhampton on June 25, 2017, as it was travelling from Paget to Childers.

He said the side curtains of the trailers were bulging out.

Mr Louden said the maximum width of a hay load allowed on those trailers was 2.5m but the first trailer measured 2.61m and the second 2.69m.

He said the steel gates installed in the first trailer had not been fitted to restrain the load.

"The only thing restraining the bale of hay was the curtains," Mr Louden said.

He said the second trailer had some gates on but they were not correctly in place.

Defence lawyer Rowan King said his client thought hay load limits were the same in Queensland as New South Wales.

He said Mr Lewis had provided the truck for a friend who was donating the hay to the western Queensland farmers impacted by drought for the cost of fuel and the driver's wage.

Heart breaking decision for farmer: Third generation dairy farmers Rowan and Isabel Mengel are ready to close their Felton operation due to the farm price of milk, the drought and increasing production costs.

A new NSW Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice allows eligible vehicles transporting hay to travel under notice and without a permit, including B-doubles up to 26 metres long and up to 2.83m wide on all approved roads and up to 4.6m high on the approved 4.6m high network.

The difference in hay load limits is one of many discrepancies in heavy vehicle transport industry.

The Heavy Vehicle National Laws, set in Queensland and adopted by most other states in Australia, aims to provide a consistent approach to managing the industry across multiple states.