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Heavy vehicle on-road trial moves into next stage

The first in a series of on-road trials proposed to test the potential of road user charging options for heavy vehicles moves into gear this month as part of an arrangement between Federal Government and the road transport industry.

As a way of progressing reforms across infrastructure investment, the first stage of the National Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot will provide a way to test potential alternatives, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, ahead of any decisions to finalise how heavy vehicle charges are currently collected.

“The heavy vehicle on-road trials will be delivered as part of broader Heavy Vehicle Road Reform, which is about creating stronger links between road usage, charges and services for road users,” he said.

“The Government will continue to prioritise progress on reforms to improve infrastructure investment, while testing alternative options to replace heavy vehicle registration fees and fuel-based charges," said McCormack.

Real life experiences of the industry will inform the full evaluation of the trials as the Government considers future stages of the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform.

“In progressing this reform, the Australian Government will retain a focus on making sure regional roads get a fair share of investment. I encourage operators of all sizes across the sector, particularly those from regional areas to be involved in the trials,” said McCormack.

The initial Small Scale On-Road Trial according to Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz will not involve payment of charges.

It will, however, assess an alternative form of heavy vehicle charging using mock invoices generated by on-board technology that measures the distance travelled by heavy vehicles.

“The trial will involve partnerships with up to 11 heavy vehicle operators of various sizes, totalling up to 111 vehicles,” said Buchholz.

“The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is collaborating with the heavy vehicle industry, community stakeholders and all levels of government to gain a genuine understanding of a potential alternative system of heavy vehicle road user charging, he said.

“Similar approaches to heavy vehicle charging reforms are being explored worldwide, including in Europe and the United States.”

The Government also confirmed that planning was also underway for a Large Scale On-Road Trial, the next stage of the National Pilot which has reportedly been earmarked for 2020.

Up to 100 businesses and 1,000 heavy vehicles are expected to be involved in this trial.

It will not involve payment of charges and will test a wider range of alternative charging approaches.

Stakeholder engagement will continue during evaluation of the Small Scale On-Road Trial and planning for the Large Scale On-Road Trial.

According to the Government the recruitment campaign for the Large Scale On-Road Trial will begin over the next few months.

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