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Fletcher in national truck charging reform tender call

Next step in Paygo system’s replacement by direct user charge


Canberra has called for tenders for work on the first stage of the National Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot.

The step is the first in a two stage ‘proof of concept’ exercise, involving desk-top studies and then simulated charging, up to 2020.

Two live stages will follow, with an opt-on pilot and an implementation effort, to be conducted from 2020.

The move comes against a backdrop of continuing industry unhappiness at its present taxation burden.

National and state and territory governments have committed to the reform the current heavy vehicle user charging system from pay-as-you-go, fuel-excise based charging to direct user charging.

Part of that reform process will be a series of trials and pilots to test alternative approaches.

“The National Heavy Vehicle User Pilot will lay a foundation for later on-road trials, which will test if we could replace the existing heavy vehicle user charge with a direct user-pays charging system,” federal urban infrastructure and cities minister Paul Fletcher, who is in charge of the project, says.

“Such a system could improve freight efficiency — feeding through to lower prices for consumers and a substantial productivity dividend for the national economy, estimated at between $6.5 billion and $13.3 billion over 20 years.

“But to get these benefits we need a system which works well for the heavy vehicle industry. 

“This is why the Australian Government is keen to work with industry to design and run heavy vehicle charging trials.

“Last month, I met with a number of key members of the industry to discuss heavy vehicle road reform and how we could progress trials.

“The participants clearly indicated they want to understand the impact a potential new charging system could have on their businesses and customers.

“The research and planning work to be undertaken during Stage 1 of the National Pilot will provide some of the answers and inform how the on-road stages of the National Pilot can best be implemented.

“I have seen first-hand in Oregon and California the important role well-designed road-user charging trials play in engaging users in the reform process.”

According to the federal government, key features of the ‘national pilot’ are:

  • it will test the proposed end-state for Heavy Vehicle Road Reform.
  • it will operate Australia-wide and be led by the Australian Government.
  • participation is voluntary and will be open to heavy vehicle operators nationally.
  • the first two stages will not involve any actual payments or require changes to legislation.
  • participants will have opportunities to provide feedback on their experiences and views throughout the  ‘national pilot’ and will be involved in shaping national reform.

More information on the National Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot can be found here.

Tender documents can be found here.


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