Government and industry partnering for heavy vehicle on-road trial

A partnership between government and the heavy vehicle industry moves into full swing this month with the first in a series of on-road trials designed to test potential direct road user charging options for heavy vehicles.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said that while no decisions have been made to change the way heavy vehicle charges are currently collected, the first stage of the National Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot will provide a way to test potential alternatives, well ahead of any decisions being taken.

“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,” Mr McCormack 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.

“Decisions to implement a new way of collecting heavy vehicle charges may be part of a potential future stage of Heavy Vehicle Road Reform. These decisions are likely to be a number years away and will take on board the real-life experience of industry following a full evaluation of the trials.

“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.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the initial Small Scale On-Road Trial will not involve payment of charges and will 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,” Mr Buchholz said.

“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.

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

Planning is also underway for a Large Scale On-Road Trial, the next stage of the National Pilot which will take place during 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. A recruitment campaign for the Large Scale On-Road Trial will begin over the coming months.

Interested heavy vehicle operators are encouraged to email the National Pilot team in the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development national.pilot@infrastructure.gov.au.

Further information about the National Pilot On-Road Trials can be accessed at www.infrastructure.gov.au/nationalpilot.