Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Primary Producers, Special Driving Permits

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (15:05): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development regarding special permits.

Leave granted.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: There is a special application form known as an MR33 which allows family members or employees of a primary producer to drive heavy tractors or agriculture machinery when they do not hold the appropriate class of licence. The applicant must be aged 18 years or over and must have held at least a class C driver's licence for 12 months, but frustratingly this restricted licence can only be applied to a South Australian class C driver's licence.

Many primary producers require their transient staff, whether it be working holidaymakers, grey nomads or other interstate and foreign workers, to operate primary industry vehicles such as trucks and tractors. This is across farm and aquaculture operations.

Producers have told us that it is imperative that a solution be found for this issue. I understand my colleague from the other place, Sam Telfer MP, wrote to the minister about this issue in early July and is yet to receive a response. Given that it has been 10 weeks since the minister was made aware of these issues by our team, my questions to the minister are:

1. As the key representative for primary producers, has the minister advocated for the sector to find a solution for special permits for workers from interstate and overseas?

2. Has the minister or her department engaged with the Cross Border Commissioner on this issue?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:07): I thank the honourable member for her question. I would perhaps just like to query when she says that her colleague in the other place has written to the minister, whether that was to me or whether that was to the Minister for Transport in the other place, who I would imagine has carriage of the acts that relate to this matter.

I have not seen a file in relation to this matter. I am happy to follow up with my office to see whether it has been received, but certainly I have not seen such a file. I am happy to take down the information that has been provided in the question today and correspond with my colleague in the other place, the Minister for Transport, about this matter to see whether it has been considered and, if not, whether it can be considered and what the restrictions and opportunities are around such a matter.