The press release is here, with more details on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development ("the Department") website here.
In short, it involves:
- Up to eleven heavy vehicle operators (truck and bus) using on-board telematics systems that they were already using in their vehicles (commercial telematic systems used for fleet management purposes);
- Up to 111 vehicles will be included (so an average of a maximum of ten vehicles per fleet);
- A trial of six months duration;
- Operators to use existing systems to report vehicle configuration;
- Each operator will receive mock invoices generated by measurement of road use using the telematics systems on each participating vehicle, which will enable comparison of hypothetical charges with current charges
|Australia's heavy vehicle charging trial programme|
The operators participating in the small-scale trial are:
- Bridgestone Australia Ltd
- Buslines Group Pty Ltd
- Conroy Removals Pty Ltd
- Coolibah Quarries
- De Bruyn's Transport
- John West Logistics Pty Ltd
- J R Bulk Liquid Transport (Blu Logistics)
- Nuline Charter Pty Ltd
- Simon National Carriers
- D & S Smith Haulage Pty Ltd
- Toll Group
- EROAD (well known for providing heavy vehicle RUC services in New Zealand and Oregon)
- Volvo Buses (telematics)
- Volvo Trucks (telematics)
Other reforms as part of this include consideration of independent price regulation of the setting of heavy vehicle charges (including existing registration fees and the fuel-based charge), and measures to more closely link revenue collected from heavy vehicles to road managers for investment in their networks.
It is clear that it is early days and no decision has been made by the Australian Government to change how heavy vehicles are charged in Australia, and any decision to do so is likely to be some years away.
It will be interesting to watch the small scale trial with interest, particularly what the responses of participants are and the lessons that the Department will learn from the trial to develop the larger scale trial and inform wider reforms.
Disclosure: D'Artagnan has been providing technical advice to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development on heavy vehicle charging trials.