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Department of Transport and Main Roads

Queensland Sugar Mill Mass Concession Scheme

The Registered Queensland Sugar Mill Mass Concession Scheme addresses the difficulty of accurately assessing the mass of heavy vehicles loaded on-farm with bulk sugarcane. The scheme supports the industry and is designed to help manage uncertainties (varying moisture contents and densities) by providing eligible scheme participants with flexibility above regulation mass limits via an in-field loading tolerance (refer to loading tolerances).

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Scheme administration

The Department of Transport and Main Roads is responsible for development of the framework for the scheme's operation. This includes the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with each Sugar Mill, the Participation Guide, annual auditing of registered sugar mills and investigation of breaches in consultation with participants. 

The scheme operates under the Queensland Class 3 Heavy Vehicle Sugar Mill Mass Management Scheme Exemption Notice (the Notice) made under section 117 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland).

Participating sugar mills also agree to operate within the conditions of a Memorandum of Understanding and the Registered Queensland Sugar Mill Mass Concession Scheme Participation Guide.

The scheme operating year is from 1 July to 30 June. However, the transportation of sugarcane predominantly occurs from June to December each year. 

Participate in the scheme

For more information about how to participate in the scheme email us at

Scheme participants

  • Registered sugar mills
  • Harvester contractors
  • Haulage contractors
  • Local governments.

Participant responsibilities

Registered sugar mills

As a registered sugar mill, administrative functions and compliance activities are undertaken to support the scheme and includes: 

  • Maintaining a register of eligible vehicles and providing a Certificate of Participation.
  • Weighing all vehicles and record data for reporting requirements.
  • Obtaining approval from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) for consent to access local government roads.
  • Informing harvesters and haulers of their responsibilities such as Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligation.
  • Maintaining calibration of their weighbridge/s.

Certificate of Participation

The responsible sugar mill must keep a register of each vehicle operating under the scheme. The register records the registration details of the vehicles and the vehicle's allowable mass concession limits. The responsible sugar mill must issue each registered vehicle a Certificate of Participation.

Harvester contractors and Haulage contractors

Harvester, loaders and vehicle drivers/operators are responsible for even distribution of loads over their vehicle combination, and axles or axle groups.

All vehicles transporting sugarcane under the scheme must:

Transport and Main Roads and/or the relevant local government authority should be contacted to clarify road access in the event of prolonged rain or road works.

Loss of sugarcane poses a safety risk on the road network. Actively referring to the National Transport Commission’s Load Restraint Guide 2018 ensures the appropriate load restraint is applied that prevents incidence of sugarcane spillage while in transit. 

Local governments

Each sugar mill must have an approval to operate on local government roads. The local government as the road manager is responsible for assessing vehicle eligibility to travel on its roads and the conditions of travel that apply. 

The NHVR will issue the final approval permit and seek advice from the local government for their assessment and consent. 

Annual audit

Transport and Main Roads will conduct annual onsite audits of participating sugar mills usually before commencement of the harvest. A copy of current local government road manager approvals must be supplied to Transport and Main Roads during the audit, if not provided prior.

For more information about how audits for the scheme are conducted phone a Transport and Main Roads Transport Inspector on  (07) 4617 7432.

Operating conditions

Vehicles transporting sugarcane for a participating sugar mill must comply with the Queensland Class 3 Heavy Vehicle Sugar Mill Mass Management Scheme Exemption Notice and the Registered Queensland Sugar Mill Mass Concession Participation Guide to be eligible for the mass concessions.

Eligible vehicles

Vehicles must not exceed the manufacturer’s ratings including:

  • Gross Vehicle Mass
  • Gross Combination Mass 
  • steering ratings
  • brake capacities
  • suspension ratings

Vehicles must be:

  • fitted with 4 tyre axles in their suspension configurations, except for steer axles 
  • fitted with conforming axle/axle groups.


  • Loads must be evenly distributed over the vehicle combination and axle groups.
  • Loads must be weighed each time the product is transported.


The following documents must be carried in the vehicle, or produced electronically:


Travel is only permitted on approved routes within a 200km radius from the delivery point.

Wet weather closures and road works

In the event of prolonged rain, vehicles operating under the scheme must revert to regulation mass limits or a specified mass, whichever is lower. These limits will remain until further notice.

Recorded information on wet weather road closures or road works is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phoning 13 19 40, via the QLDTraffic website or contacting the relevant local government. 

Loading tolerances

The mass tolerances offered in the scheme should be viewed as an in-field loading tolerance and not a mass productivity concession. 

Heavy vehicles operating under the scheme are to be loaded according to regulation mass limits wherever possible. Vehicles will not incur a penalty if they operate within the following scheme mass limits:

  • 7.5% maximum tolerance on regulation gross vehicle mass for the combination.
  • 10% maximum tolerance on regulation axle/axle group masses, and
  • the maximum steer axle mass of a heavy vehicle must not be more than:
    • 6.6t
    • the manufacturer’s steer axle mass rating.

The 10% loading tolerance for vehicles under the scheme does not apply to vehicles manufactured with Front Under-run Protection as these vehicles are entitled to 6.5t on the steer axle and the maximum mass permitted is 6.6t. 

Additionally, the 0.5t is not added to the maximum loading tolerance provided under the Scheme for a vehicle manufactured with Front Under-run Protection. Irrespective of the scheme mass limits, vehicles cannot exceed the manufacturer’s gross or axle mass rating. 

Concession masses

The allowable General Mass Limits and Gross Concession Mass Limits are listed in the following table.

Vehicle types General Mass Limit Gross Concession Mass Limit

5 Axle Semitrailer 

5 Axle Semitrailer

39.00t 41.90t

Common 6 Axle Semitrailer

Common 6 Axle Semitrailer

42.50t  45.70t

8 Axle B-double

8 Axle B-double

59.00t 63.40t

9 Axle B-double

9 Axle B-double

62.50t  67.20t


Compliance obligations

The sugar mill must take the necessary action to control and correct non-compliance incidents and operate within the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) including Chain of Responsibility (CoR) requirements. 

If you are a party under Chain of Responsibility (CoR) you have a responsibility to ensure the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is complied with. The HVNL 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 consignee of goods.   

The principles applying to the safety duties are set out in Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland). Involved parties can access information about their obligations and make use of the tools available on the NHVR website. The NHVR Chain of Responsibility Gap Assessment Tool enables you to examine business practices and systems controls against known risks and recognised best practice.

Managing overloaded vehicles 

Any vehicles operating under the Notice found to be severely overloaded during a roadside inspection will be issued a Prohibition Notice and grounded until the load is adjusted to the Notice mass concession limits. Sugar mills must not provide incentives that encourages trucks to arrive at the site overloaded.

Sugarcane vehicles that exceed the mass limits of the Scheme must be managed in accordance with Safety Duties and Chain of Responsibility obligations, and be unloaded at the depot. 

Transport and Main Roads may initiate action to amend, suspend or cancel participation with a Show Cause Notice if operators demonstrate repeated non-compliance with the processes outlined in the Registered Queensland Sugar Mill Mass Concession Scheme Participation Guide.

Reporting and record-keeping

The sugar mill is required to maintain appropriate records. They must provide weighbridge reporting data to Transport and Main Roads on a weekly basis.

Weekly Concessional Mass Management Compliance Report 

This report must include:

  • total number of loads within general mass limits total
  • number of loads within gross concession mass limits
  • total number of loads delivered exceeding gross concession mass limits
  • a summary showing the abovementioned loads, the total loads delivered for the week and the percentage of the loads exceeding the gross concessional mass limits.

Weekly harvester contractor summary report

This report must include:

  • total number of deliveries loaded by each harvesting group up to or equal to gross concessional mass limits 
  • loads exceeding gross concessional mass limits
  • percentage of compliance to the above mass categories.

The sugar mills are also required to keep registers of delivery operations. The registers are sent to Transport and Main Roads at commencement of a season.

Register of eligible vehicles operating under the Memorandum of Understanding (Seasons Carters List)

This register must include:

  • the Certificate of Participation and vehicle owner’s details for each vehicle operating under the scheme
  • registration number, tare and registered gross mass of all vehicles operating under the scheme
  • manufacturer's vehicle mass rating
  • the code/s that are issued to each vehicle combination
  • date issued and date withdrawn.

Register of harvesting groups operating under the Memorandum of Understanding

This register must include:

  • Harvesting group
  • Participation agreement.
Last updated 05 September 2023