Last updated 17 May 2021.
Related articles on GHMS.
- Why do we need a GHMS?
- Who administers the GHMS?
- How do I join the GHMS?
- What are the benefits of joining the GHMS?
- What are the conditions for participation in the GHMS?
- GHMS mass limits
- How do approved GHMS receivers fit into the scheme?
- Approved GHMS receivers
- Vehicles exceeding the GHMS mass limits
- Grounding rules
- Removal from the GHMS
- Delivery past ‘nearest approved GHMS receiver’
- GHMS vehicle stickers
- Drivers refusing to weigh vehicles
- Compliance with the GHMS
- Certificate of inspection
- Permits, guidelines and notices
- Other legislative requirements
- Fatigue management
- Safety duties and chain of responsibility (COR)
Queensland Government introduced the Grain Harvest Management Scheme (GHMS) to improve the efficiency of grain harvest. It aims to protect the road infrastructure network and promote Road Safety by reducing severely overloaded heavy vehicles through appropriate administrative procedures and compliance activities.
The GHMS addresses the difficulty of accurately loading heavy vehicles on-farm with bulk commodities such as grain, oilseed, pulses and bulk fresh cut silage (not baled).
The GHMS is designed to help manage uncertainties (varying moisture contents and densities) by providing vehicles registered with AgForce ‘flexibility’ above regulation mass limits.
The GHMS operates on a year-to-year basis from 1 July to 30 June. The GHMS benefits the grain industry, the road transport industry and the wider community. It allows an efficient grain harvest while protecting road infrastructure through eliminating gross overloading. It does this by using appropriate administrative procedures and compliance activities.
Participation is not restricted to farmers and is open to anyone delivering grain, oilseeds, pulses and bulk fresh cut silage (not bailed) from farms to Approved GHMS Receivers (a list of these can be found at agforceqld.org.au).
The GHMS operates under section 117 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) - Queensland Class 3 Heavy Vehicle (Grain Harvest Management Scheme) Mass Exemption Notice 2019 (No. 1). This law is administered by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and delivered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).
The GHMS registration process is administered by AgForce Queensland (AgForce) and is only for heavy vehicles driven on Queensland roads. For information on the New South Wales GHMS, please visit rms.nsw.gov.au.
1. Why do we need a GHMS?
Overloading heavy vehicles is a safety issue and must also be minimised to protect our road infrastructure network. This can be achieved through initiatives like the GHMS while maintaining reasonable road access for rural economic development and social needs.
Examples of overloading leading to increased damage to roads:
- Single drive bogie trailer configuration carrying 6.5 tonne over its legal limit – this vehicle is 20 per cent overloaded yet it produces twice the damage of a legally loaded vehicle. The same vehicle overloaded by 10 tonne or 32 per cent produces three times the damage.
- Single axle rigid truck carrying 5 tonne over its legal limit – this vehicle produces more road damage than a legally loaded type one road train.
By minimising overloading, we are reducing the damage to the road network and helping to maintain access in critical rural areas.
2. Who administers the GHMS?
The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), Approved GHMS Receivers and AgForce are all involved in the management, administration and operation of the GHMS.
As a service to industry, AgForce supports the GHMS through the administration and coordination of the following aspects of the scheme’s operation:
- membership applications and renewals including stickers and temporary approvals
- de-registration of non-complying vehicles
- provision of current GHMS and regulation mass limits and
- administrative duties associated with the above tasks.
If you are unaware of your vehicle’s gross mass limit or GHMS code, please visit agforceqld.org.au or call (07) 3236 3100.
Note: AgForce will only provide information prepared by the relevant authority and has no role in its preparation. While AgForce will use its best endeavors to ensure that the information is current and accurate, it takes no responsibility for any loss suffered by drivers, vehicle owners or third parties as a result of supplying information that may be out dated or incorrect.
3. How do I join the GHMS?
Growers, contractors and transport operators wishing to participate in the GHMS will need to visit agforceqld.org.au and undertake the following:
- read and understand this Accreditation Booklet
- submit the online application including the payment of the annual GHMS membership fee
- if a hard-copy application is completed, send the Application, Assessment Sheet and payment details to AgForce (details are on the Application).
Note: The GHMS fee is annually indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and financial members of AgForce will receive a full rebate against the following year’s AgForce membership.
Following the completion of this process and payment of the annual GHMS membership fee, individually numbered GHMS membership and identification stickers will be sent to you to affix to your vehicle.
You will receive the following material which will include your individual scheme number:
- A document indicating registration approval and scheme sticker number
- 2 door stickers
- 1 windscreen sticker.
Note: AgForce will aim to process your application within 48 hours including providing temporary stickers if requested. Following 48 hours, feel free to contact AgForce regarding your application.
The GHMS operates on a year-to-year basis from 1 July to 30 June. The coloured stickers issued to vehicles registered with AgForce change each operational year. AgForce will notify all Parties of the sticker colour for the new season prior to 1 July each year.
4. What are the benefits of joining the GHMS?
The primary benefit of GHMS membership is receiving weight tolerances to reduce the uncertainty when loading grain, oilseeds pulses and bulk fresh cut silage on-farm (See Section 7. for GHMS Mass Limits). The GHMS also helps protect road infrastructure by reducing overloading.
5. What are the conditions for participation in the GHMS?
All GHMS drivers and vehicle owners must ensure adherence with the following conditions:
- Register participating vehicles with AgForce.
- Affix individually numbered GHMS door stickers permanently to each door of the corresponding truck. Stickers must not be affixed using any temporary adhesive, must be in a visible position and must be for the correct year.
- Affix the GHMS windscreen sticker with the corresponding truck for the correct year.
- Notify AgForce if a vehicle’s registration changes to enable AgForce to reissue stickers with the new truck registration (this may incur a small processing fee).
- Remove all out-of-date scheme stickers from participating
- Know the manufacturer’s vehicle mass limits and GHMS code. Ensure you do not exceed mass limits if they are lower than the GHMS mass limit.
- Only apply GHMS mass limits when carrying grain, oil seeds, pulses or bulk fresh cut silage (not bailed) direct from farm to the nearest Approved GHMS Receiver unless otherwise pre-approved by TMR.
- Silage is to be bulk, fresh cut and transported directly from the farm. Not baled.
- Deliveries to the Brisbane Metropolitan Area and Queensland Ports are not covered under the GHMS.
- Comply with all other heavy vehicle transport law including fatigue management, mechanical safety, road access restrictions, registration and licensing requirements.
6. GHMS mass limits
The tolerance offered in the Scheme is an in-field loading tolerance not a productivity concession. Heavy vehicles operating under the GHMS are to be loaded according to regulation mass limits wherever possible, however they will not incur a penalty if they operate within the following Scheme mass limits:
- 7.5 per cent maximum flexibility on regulation gross vehicle mass for the combination.
- 10 per cent maximum flexibility on regulation axle/axle group masses; and
- The maximum steer axle mass of a heavy vehicle must not be more than;
- 6 tonne; or
- 1 tonne for a prime mover forming part of a road train fitted with tyres with section widths of at least 375mm –; or
- The manufacturer’s steer axle mass rating.
- Despite the FUPs allowances for steer axle weight, the maximum TOTAL VEHICLE mass must not exceed the 7.5 per cent flexibility on regulation gross vehicle mass for the combination
Note: Irrespective of the Scheme mass limits, vehicles cannot exceed their manufacturer’s gross or axle mass rating.
Note: Performance Based Standard (PBS) vehicles are governed by a PBS permit (issued by the NHVR) and are not entitled to the GHMS mass limits. PBS permits must be carried and produced at the time of delivery, so the weighbridge operator understands the mass limits governed by the PBS permit.
7. How do approved GHMS receivers fit into the scheme?
Approved GHMS Receivers have agreed to work with TMR and AgForce to ensure the GHMS’s viability and success.
GHMS mass limits do not apply unless the receiver is registered and has a signed approved GHMS Receiver Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with TMR. The Approved GHMS Receiver must comply with their MOU including recording and reporting as required. While an Approved GHMS Receiver derives no economic benefit from the GHMS, they’re participation supports community and grower interests.
Applicants to join the scheme as an Approved GHMS Receiver must possess a current weighbridge calibration certificate for each approved site and be able to produce it upon request by TMR annually.
A list of all Approved GHMS Receivers, a table of common truck configurations (with code numbers and permitted mass limits) and a full list of configurations are available at agforceqld.org.au. If you cannot find your vehicle configuration, please contact AgForce on (07) 3236 3100.
8. Approved GHMS receivers
Approved GHMS Receivers must weigh all vehicles at the point of delivery, compile reports and forward the reports to TMR and AgForce as required. TMR and AgForce then review the reports for appropriate action.
If a vehicle or combination that does not match the Vehicle Configuration Guide is presented to an Approved GHMS Receiver, the vehicle or combination shall be weighed however no GHMS loading tolerances will be applied. Regulation mass will be used, the load will be recorded and reported as required.
The Vehicle Configuration Guide can be found at agforceqld.org.au.
Note: Overloaded trucks create safety risks to other road users and cause damage to our roads.
Also refer to Chapter 1A Safety Duties and Chain of Responsibility, to ensure all parties are aware of their roles and responsibilities. All parties in the grain supply chain, including consignees and Transport Operators, must take active steps to manage their safety responsibilities and supply chain risks.
9. Vehicles exceeding the GHMS mass limits
An official warning letter will be sent by AgForce to a vehicle owner if a vehicle is found to be exceeding the GHMS mass limits, based on the reports provided to TMR and AgForce. The letter will remind the vehicle owner of their community responsibilities as a road user, the benefits and intent of the GHMS, their responsibilities under Chain of Responsibility and outline that the corresponding vehicle may be subject to compliance and enforcement action by TMR.
If further reports show that a vehicle has been overloaded again at any Approved GHMS Receiver, they may be issued a ‘Show Cause Notice’ by TMR. This notice will ask the vehicle owner to justify why they should remain in the GHMS and the driver and/or vehicle owner may be subject to compliance and enforcement action by TMR.
If a vehicle is weighed at an Approved GHMS Receiver and found severely overloaded, TMR and the owner of the grain will be notified immediately by the receiver. TMR will issue the vehicle owner a ‘Show Cause Notice, Immediate Suspension and Proposal to Remove Vehicle’ Notice. This notice will ask the vehicle owner to justify why they should remain in the GHMS.
If possible – the truck should be safely unloaded at the receivers. However, the receiver should not provide any incentive, financial or otherwise, for trucks to arrive overloaded to their facilities in the first place and must actively manage their supply chain to ensure overloading does not continue. A formal investigation may be initiated based on reports supplied to TMR.
10. Grounding rules
If a vehicle is intercepted road-side and found severely overloaded, the vehicle will be issued a Prohibition Notice and grounded until the load is reduced to comply with mass limits. The driver or any person in the Chain of responsibility may be subject to compliance and enforcement action by TMR. TMR will also issue the vehicle owner a ‘Show Cause Notice, Immediate Suspension and Proposal to Remove Vehicle’. This notice will ask the vehicle owner to justify why they should remain in the GHMS.
Note: If a vehicle is severely overloaded, TMR may remove participating vehicles from the GHMS.
11. Removal from the GHMS
If a ‘Show Cause Notice’ has been completed and a vehicle is to be removed from the GHMS, the vehicle owner will be formally advised by TMR that the corresponding vehicle will be removed from the scheme. A copy of this letter will be forwarded to AgForce and the vehicle will be de-registered and removed from the GHMS by AgForce.
Vehicle owners who have a vehicle removed from the GHMS must return their GHMS stickers to TMR.
12. Delivery past ‘nearest approved GHMS receiver’
Sometimes delivery to the nearest Approved GHMS Receiver is not possible. This is allowed under the GHMS if first approved by TMR.
The approval form must be completed and approved by TMR prior to journey commencement. The form can be found as Appendix A of this booklet or at agforceqld.org.au. Once completed, email the form to TMR via the contact details on the form.
The ‘nearest Approved GHMS Receiver’ means the closest receiver that is accepting the grain you are delivering that is operated by the same GHMS entity that is purchasing or has contracted the grain.
However, there is misunderstanding around what constitutes ‘delivery past nearest approved GHMS Receiver, so please carefully read the examples outlined below prior to completing the necessary paperwork.
- You will only need to complete the Approval to Deliver Past Nearest Approved Receiver form if you are delivering to an Approved GHMS Receiver that has more than one site AND IF you are going past their closest delivery
- You will not need to complete the approval form if you have contracted grain to a buyer and there is only one site that will receive the grain. It is suggested that you carry a copy of the contract (without sensitive information e.g. price) during transit so you can provide clarification to a Transport Inspector if required.
- You will not need to complete the approval form if you are delivering to GrainCorp during the harvest and the closest GrainCorp delivery site is closed, full or it is not accepting the type or grade of grain you are delivering.
Note: Grain cannot be delivered using the GHMS, to a GrainCorp site which is not the closest to the farm because the closest GrainCorp site isn’t offering the best price. In this instance GHMS mass limits would not apply.
If approved, TMR will sign the form and return via email. The TMR approval must be carried by the driver for the entire journey and be produced if asked by a Transport Inspector. To produce an electronic copy on a smart phone or tablet is acceptable.
Note: The approval form (Appendix B) can be submitted by either the grain owner or the transport operator.
Operators of vehicles that do not comply with the above conditions will be treated as non-participants of the GHMS, regulation mass limits apply and will be subject to normal compliance and enforcement action.
13. GHMS vehicle stickers
The requirement to display current GHMS stickers when intercepted on road will be enforced. If the operator is awaiting receipt of new scheme stickers, a temporary confirmation document indicating registration approval and the scheme sticker number must be produced to the Transport Inspectors upon request. This document is only valid for 28 days (unless otherwise specified) after its date of issue by AgForce.
If the interim registration approval document is not produced road-side, then this may result in the vehicle being breached if over regulation mass limits.
A record of breaches and warnings (against drivers and or vehicles) issued by the Transport Inspectors is recorded by TMR.
14. Drivers refusing to weigh vehicles
Where the driver of a vehicle participating in the GHMS fails to comply with a direction by the Transport Inspectors to allow the vehicle to be weighed, the vehicle will be removed from the scheme immediately. The Transport Inspectors will remove the scheme stickers. In addition, the driver will be subject to normal breach action for refusing to weigh.
15. Compliance with the GHMS
Participating operators and drivers are reminded that TMR and AgForce will be monitoring the weight data provided by Approved GHMS Receivers for scheme and non-scheme deliveries.
- TMR and AgForce have seen measurable high compliance rates in recent years regarding the GHMS.
- Locations that indicate high levels of non-compliance will be targeted for compliance and enforcement action.
- It should be noted by all drivers and vehicle owners that high levels of non-compliance will affect the long-term viability of this GHMS.
- Normal roadside compliance and enforcement powers of Transport Inspectors apply to vehicles that are participating in the GHMS. However, unless the GHMS is being abused, participating vehicles will not generally be subject to roadside weight checks during harvest time.
16. Certificate of inspection
All vehicles must be in a roadworthy condition and be covered under a current Certificate of Inspection unless exempt under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) Maintenance Module.
All vehicles must be currently registered for the appropriate registration category and correctly insured.
18. Permits, guidelines and notices
Drivers of vehicles operating under a Permit, Performance Guideline, or National Notice (for example; road trains, B-Doubles) must comply with the requirements relating to those vehicles.
19. Other legislative requirements
Scheme vehicles will not be targeted for potential mass offences. Transport Inspectors will conduct minimal roadside mass checks; however, vehicles may be subject to roadside inspections of other vehicle operating standards. Non-complying vehicles may be subject to targeted enforcement by on-road Transport Inspectors.
20. Fatigue management
Heavy vehicle drivers and vehicle owners must comply with legislated fatigue management obligations while operating under the GHMS. The record keeper for the heavy vehicle must be able to produce driving records for drivers claiming local area exemption from completing a work diary. That is, while working within the 160km limit of the driver’s base under the NHVR Primary Production Work Diary Exemption.
More information on work diary exemptions can be found on the NHVR website.
Drivers of primary production associated vehicles where the driver’s base is not the registered garaging address of the vehicle may be exempted from the requirement to complete a work diary provided:
- the Record Keeper keeps and maintains driving records
- the driver carries a work diary with the base address shown therein and
- is operating within the 160km limit of the driver’s base.
21. Safety duties and chain of responsibility (COR)
Safety Duties and CoR is to ensure that all parties in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain manages their responsibilities with applicable laws and policies. The principles applying to the Safety Duties are set out in Chapter 1A of the HVNL.
The aim of CoR is to make sure everyone in the supply chain shares responsibility for ensuring breaches of the HVNL do not occur. Involved parties should educate themselves of their obligations and make use of the tools available on the NHVR website.
Under CoR laws if you are named as a party in the chain of responsibility and you exercise (or have the capability of exercising) control or influence over any transport task, you have a responsibility to ensure the HVNL is complied with. The law recognises that multiple parties may be responsible for offences committed by the drivers and operators of heavy vehicles. A person may be a party in the supply chain in more than one way. For example, they may have duties as the employer, the operator and the consigner of goods.
AgForce, to the full extent permitted by the law, excludes all liability to both vehicle owners and any other person in tort (including negligence) contract or otherwise in loss or damage to any property, injury to, or death of any person arising out of any acts or omissions of AgForce. These exclusions extend to loss of profits, business or anticipated savings or any other direct or inconsequential damage and to economic loss even if AgForce knows they are possible or otherwise foreseeable.
A person operating an eligible vehicle under this notice shall indemnify Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and their employees, against any claim, action or process for any damage or injury due to the use of vehicles under this notice.