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THIS month the first in a series of on-road trials is to take place designed to test potential direct road user charging options for the heavy vehicle industry.

Deputy Prime Minister and transport minister Michael McCormack said while no decisions had been made on changing the way heavy vehicle charges were collected, the first stage of the National Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot would provide a way to test potential alternatives.

“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 year’s away, according to the government, and will take on board the real-life experience of industry following a full evaluation of the trials.

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“In progressing this reform, the 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,” Mr McCormack said.

The initial Small Scale OnRoad 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.

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.

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