Donato huge fan of Parkes Elvis Festival

ALL SHOOK UP: Phil meets with an local spirited Elvis fan. Phil is a huge fan of the Parkes Elvis Festival and will be part of the official opening on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.
ALL SHOOK UP: Phil meets with an local spirited Elvis fan. Phil is a huge fan of the Parkes Elvis Festival and will be part of the official opening on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.

Practical Solutions for Weighing Livestock Trucks

Considering the issues concerning the weighing of loaded livestock trucks at livestock exchanges and saleyards, which has spawned the need for weighbridges, we need to look at better options for our farmers. For this reason I asked the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP, if consideration would be given to the practical advantages of truck-mounted axle scales for trucks accessing those sites.

Truck-mounted axle scales would assist operators to load trucks within limits upon each axel, as many grain trucks now use, which would negate having to install expensive weighing bridges and the cost of their ongoing operation. More importantly, this would save the time involved in weighing trucks one at time upon a weighbridge, which slows the progress of the departing loaded trucks and in turn jeopardises the welfare of livestock, placing them under additional stress in the heated conditions of a stationary truck.

The response I received from our Government Minister was that Heavy Vehicle Law is administered by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, who are currently conducting an internal review of compliance at Dubbo and Forbes saleyards. This is hardly a sufficient answer, nor any commitment to assist in resolving this issue.

I suggest to the Minister that she starts listening to those living our region, especially the farmers who work on the land and have to deal with these complex and useless rules. This is likely to be a far better approach than an “internal review” – the default solution for our ineffective and impotent Government who continually neglect rural and regional areas.

Let’s reimburse our farmers

I also asked Melinda Pavey whether there will be a full reimbursement of the $30 million plus overcharge to primary producers on their concessional vehicle registration over the last twenty years. In an incredible act of cowardice, this overcharge was known by the Government but kept secret until an internal document was leaked to me, which I then tabled it in the Legislative Assembly in August 2018.

Since I called the Government to account they have stated they will reimburse farmers for the past three years, but what about the remainder?

The Minister’s response was to refer me to the Roads and Maritime Services website, which is not answering the question. As per the website, the amount they have decided to reimburse is three years, which is just not good enough.

It’s horrific to think that if I hadn’t held the government to account, the Nationals would have gotten away with not paying anything. It seems they would have been quite happy to keep the overcharge a secret – as they did for six months – hoping no-one would ever find out and not repaying a single cent. It’s time for the Government step up and stop passing the buck. 

Elvis Festival

It is absolutely amazing to see how the Parkes Elvis Festival has grown from a small Elvis-themed party into an international event! The Elvis Festival brings so much colour and excitement to the Parkes area, not to mention the economic benefits which are much needed during these tough times.

Congratulations to the organisers who work tirelessly to make this huge event come to fruition each and every year, and to the whole community of Parkes who continue to get behind this incredible initiative.

I’m a huge fan of the Elvis Festival and am honoured to be part of the official opening; I hope to see you there!