Confusion over tag-along tours
FRASER Island 4WD hire operators are in confusion over which government department is in charge of their incoming tag-along tours.
This week State Transport Minister Rachel Nolan sent out a fact sheet to operators on new and existing 4WD hire vehicle laws.
At the end of the sheet she included:
“What about tag-along tours?
“The responsibility for issuing permits and setting conditions for tag-along tours lies with the Department of Environment and Resource Management.”
This was after the minister and the Fraser Coast 4WD Operators Association president, Dave Robertson, spoke by phone on Sunday and she told him she had decided that only eight people could travel in hire 4WDs – and that included in any tag-along formation.
“We need to know just where we stand and with whom we stand on tag-along tours,” Mr Robertson said yesterday.
“We need to know who’s in charge.”
Yesterday Ms Nolan’s media spokeswoman phoned to explain.
“Transport is absolutely in charge of the changes to top loading and seating on hire 4WDs,” she said.
“But DERM is responsible for issuing permits and setting conditions.”
Mr Robertson said the operators now understood that if a person who owned their 4WD decided to join a tag-along tour, then the government’s new seating and load restrictions would not apply to that vehicle.
“And we realise that if someone hires a vehicle and then joins a tag-along, the seating and loading restrictions would need to apply to that vehicle.
“We also need to know if you’ve got a number of vehicles in a tag-along, can someone who’s bought a seat then legally drive that vehicle because they’re not actually hiring the vehicle?
“The new laws do not apply to the lead tag-along vehicle because it has a professional authorised driver.
“But we’re asking if the vehicles in the tag-along need to be registered as public passenger service vehicles. Because if that’s the case then these new rules should not apply.”
“This is all very messy and needs sorting before we start the tag-alongs.”