Drought heavy vehicle access

National Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice 2018

Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law, heavy vehicles are normally limited to 2.5m in width and 4.3m in height. Under the national drought notice, an eligible vehicle carrying baled or rolled hay or straw may operate up to 2.83m in width and 4.6m in height.

Eligible vehicles

The following vehicles are eligible to operate under the national drought notice:

  • a heavy rigid vehicle up to 12.5m in length
  • a prime mover and semi-trailer combination up to 19m in length
  • a prime mover and low loader combination up to 19m in length
  • a B-double
  • a road train.

Access under the national drought notice

The national drought notice works by allowing a vehicle that already has access to the road network (either general access, or restricted access under a notice) to operate at wider and higher dimensions. To use these expanded dimensions the vehicle must comply with the conditions of its normal access as well as the conditions of the drought assistance notice.

Please note: The national drought notice does not automatically grant access to all roads. The vehicle must already be able to access the network, and may only access roads managed by participating road managers.

In summary, access to roads must meet the following criteria:

  1. The vehicle must have normal, current access to the road network (through general access or access under a current notice).
  2. The vehicle meets the conditions of the national drought notice.
  3. The vehicle is transporting baled or rolled hay or straw to a drought affected area.
  4. All roads on the route are managed by participating road managers (at this stage only state road authorities with state controlled roads).

    Examples of common access options

    Vehicle Normal access and conditions Drought notice access and conditions

    Rigid Truck

    Length: up to 12.5m

    General access to all roads

    Width: up to 2.5m
    Height: up to 4.3m

    No special conditions

    Access to all roads:

    • managed by participating road managers; and
    • on journeys carrying baled or rolled hay or straw to drought affected areas

    Width: up to 2.83m
    Height: up to 4.6m

    Conditions of the drought notice.

    Prime mover semi-trailer

    Length: up to 19m

    General access to all roads

    Width: up to 2.5m
    Height: up to 4.3m

    No special conditions

    Access to all roads:

    • managed by participating road managers; and
    • on journeys carrying baled or rolled hay or straw to drought affected areas

    Width: up to 2.83m
    Height: up to 4.6m

    Conditions of the drought notice.

    Class 2 Type-1 Road train under notice

    Length: up to 36.5m

    Access to Type-1 Road train networks under the National class 2 heavy vehicle road train authorisation (notice) 2015 (no. 1) (or similar road train authorisation)

    Width: up to 2.5m
    Height: up to 4.3m

    Must comply with conditions of the road train network and the notice.

    Access to all roads under the National class 2 heavy vehicle road train authorisation (notice) 2015 (no. 1):

    • managed by participating road managers; and
    • on journeys carrying baled or rolled hay or straw to drought affected areas

    Width: up to 2.83m
    Height: up to 4.6m

    Conditions of the drought notice AND conditions of the road train notice that do not specifically conflict with the drought notice (such as width, height and road access).

    NSW Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice

    The NSW Class 3 Drought Assistance Dimension Exemption Notice exempts eligible vehicles from complying with certain dimension requirements when transporting baled or rolled hay to be used as fodder for consumption by livestock in declared drought affected areas in New South Wales.

    Heavy vehicle operators transporting drought relief hay in NSW are encouraged to utilise access available under the:

    For more details as well as specific information referred to in the notices, please read the New South Wales Class 3 Baled Commodities Dimension Exemption Operators Guide (PDF, 1.7MB).

    If you do not comply with the conditions of access in either notice, operators are encouraged to apply for an access permit through the NHVR Portal.

    Further information on different access options as well as other support available to drought affected farmers can be found on the NSW Roads and Maritime Services website at www.rms.nsw.gov.au/drought-freight

    Access permit payment exemption

    The NHVR has introduced a permit payment exemption to operators transporting drought relief products to and from drought affected areas.

    The following freight types will be accepted as part of the payment exemption:

    • fodder freight (can include fodder used in maintenance and feeding of cattle, sheep, goats, deer, pigs, chickens, working and breeding horses)
    • water cartage freight (includes water carted for stock and supply for emergency animal welfare needs)
    • stock relocating due to drought conditions
    • emergency water infrastructure.

    For more information about eligibility and documentation please read the Drought relief - Access permit payment exemption (PDF, 188KB).

    The NHVR is also prioritising drought relief access permits. In order for the NHVR to identify and prioritise your drought relief access request please ensure you list the word DROUGHT in your "Create a new permit application – Reference" and within the "Additional comments and declaration" field of your application.

    All access permit applications can be made through the NHVR Portal.

    Drought means more trucks on roads

    As part of the drought there may be more trucks on roads across regional areas to bring essential supplies to farming communities.

    If you’re a motorist

    • Patient drivers are safe drivers. Trucks accelerate slowly as they have to move through 10 or more gears and weigh more than cars, so stay patient as they get up to speed.
    • Trucks need space. Heavy vehicles need twice as much room to brake as a car. So give them plenty of space and don’t cut too close in front.
    • It takes two to turn. If a truck is turning, sit back and don’t overtake. Trucks are allowed to (and need to) use two lanes when turning corners or going through roundabouts safely.

    If you’re a heavy vehicle operator

    • Do a daily heavy vehicle check.
    • Make sure your truck is in a roadworthy condition.
    • Check your load is properly restrained.
    • Know your heavy vehicle journey.
    • Don’t drive distracted.
    • Drive to the conditions and don’t speed.

    For more information see Drought fact sheet (PDF, 510KB).