Four Wheel Drive NSW & ACT (the Association), as a member of the Australian National Four Wheel Drive Council, has agreed to implement the track classification system developed by Four Wheel Drive Victoria. Four Wheel Drive NSW & ACT hopes to emulate the success of the Victorian implementation and has licensed the program for use in NSW and the ACT.
In Victoria this program has led to increased tourism in Parks Victoria managed lands and a reduction in the number of rescues of stranded vehicles by Parks Victoria staff. It has also created a strong working relationship between Parks Victoria and 4WD Victoria to the benefit of both organisations.
The Objectives of the program are:
- Implement an easily understood and consistent standard 4-level colour coded classification system to indicate the degree of difficulty of 4WD tracks
- Provide pre-visit & targeted information to four-wheel drive visitors
- Provide a framework to develop & promote “iconic” 4WD touring routes & tracks
- Assist Land Managers to prioritise and maintain a range of roads, tracks & trails to varying standards.
- Promote 4WD tourism throughout NSW
There are a number of criteria on which the classification is based:
- Standard symbols & signage
- Terrain & track conditions
- Vehicle suitability
- Recovery equipment
- Driver capability & training
- Weather variations.
Track Assessment and Classification Course
The Track Assessment course complies with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for delivery of training across Australia. As a Registered Training Organisation ( RTO) Four Wheel Drive NSW & ACT has the credentials and capacity to deliver this training. The course has been developed for volunteer and land manager staff and the classification assessment package provides a specific standard rather than individual subjective judgement and ability.
Benefits of the implementation of Track Classification include:
- Increased safety
- Better planning of suitable routes
- Useful for visiting emergency service personnel
- Provides a risk management framework for both tourism industry & the land managers
- Reduced traffic on unsuitable tracks & in dangerous situations
- More sustainable 4WD use
- Increased tourism opportunities
- 4WD use will be better aligned to with driver skills & preparedness
- Reduced track damage
- Ability to focus maintenance on environmental aspects & higher track usage.
- Track grades for member use.
The Association commenced implementation of the program by conducting two training sessions for NSW & ACT Association member clubs and local land managers.