BULLBARS are not a fashion accessory but an essential piece of kit for country drivers, Adam Marshall has said as he campaigns for them to be exempt from a ban.
The Northern Tablelands MP has called for rural and regional motorists to be allowed to keep or fit the soon-to-be banned five-post bullbars.
His comments come ahead of a September 2018 deadline and Mr Marshall said he would take up the issue in the next Parliamentary sitting period.
The deadline requires people whose bullbars don’t comply with Australian Design Rules to replace them or risk heavy fines or prosecution.
“Bullbars are essential for many people living in rural areas, protecting vehicles and – more importantly – protecting people’s lives, especially on our country roads with huge numbers of kangaroos and other animals around,” Mr Marshall said.
“I understand that heavy-duty bullbars could pose a risk on inner-city streets, but they are a legitimate safety device on our country roads.”
In 2014, after a NSW Police compliance blitz, Mr Marshall took up the issue with then roads minister Duncan Gay.
Mr Gay announced a ministerial exemption order to give people time to ensure their bullbars complied, and this was recently extended to September next year.
“I’m calling for this exemption to be made permanent for vehicles registered in country NSW, to give our motorists certainty and peace of mind about the future,” Mr Marshall said.
“We’re always going to have kangaroos and other wildlife on our region’s roads, hence there will always be a need for motorists to fit heavy-duty bullbars.
“Some city people think it’s about a fashion accessory on your vehicle, but they’re not; they’re essential out here.
“Country motorists shouldn’t be punished for wanting to protect their families and their vehicles.”
Mr Marshall said a permanent exemption would allow the the Australian Design Rules’ “degree of tolerance” to continue.
“The tolerances in the exemption have been working well the last few years and I want to see that continued indefinitely,” he said.
“In the past, motorists in our region have been subject to a compliance campaign and no one wants to see a return to that situation.”