This article is from the latest issue of AAAA's Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine.
Federal Assistant Treasurer, Michael Sukkar, has promised that the Government will ensure that the recently passed Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme Bill will be upheld.
“The Government will keep a close eye on industry’s response to the scheme and will work with industry, including manufacturers, to encourage compliance. The ACCC will regulate the scheme and there are strong penalties for violations– up to $10 million,” Minister Sukkar told Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine.
“A joint industry-led organisation will also report to me on the operation of the scheme and to the ACCC on systemic issues. This organisation will be based on successful arrangements for the United States’ National Automotive Service Task Force,” he explained.
“The Government stands ready to review and adjust the scheme in the future to respond to industry developments or actions to frustrate the scheme. Mechanisms to address these issues are built into the scheme through rule-making powers.
“A key objective of the scheme is to encourage the provision of accessible and affordable information to repairers on fair and reasonable commercial terms. The ACCC will keep a close eye on prices to ensure the scheme meets this objective.
“Under the scheme, car manufacturers can charge no more than fair market value. This is a recognised concept in both Australian law and in an international context. The factors to be considered in setting fair market value include the price charged to other repairers, reasonable recovery of costs, and the prices for information in overseas markets.”
Minister Sukkar stated he was passionate about protecting independent automotive workshops.
“The automotive repair is an important industry which keeps Australia’s 19.8 million vehicles on the road. There are nearly 35,000 automotive service and repair businesses in Australia, employing over 106,000 Australians,” he said.
“The average household spends more than $1,500 a year on servicing and repairing their car. By levelling the playing field for independent repairers and creating a more competitive market, these reforms will bring down the cost of owning a car.
“I want consumers to be able to access servicing and repairs in a fair, competitive market. This ground-breaking legislation will give consumers more choice about where their vehicle is repaired.
“These changes are a huge win for car owners. Consumers will be able to go to the repairer of their choice, without having to worry about whether they have the information to do the job. This will level the playing field for independent repairers and create a more competitive market. These reforms will bring down the cost of owning a car.
“There will also be benefits for regional communities, which do not have access to affiliated dealerships. Car owners in regional Australia will be able to go to their local repairer instead of traveling huge distances, possibly on the back of a tow truck, to their nearest dealership.
Ultimately, independent repairers understand the importance of this change and know that the benefits will flow through to their customers.
“We have worked closely with the automotive industry, particularly the AAAA, on designing the scheme and they have done a fantastic job of raising awareness with their members. In fact, we have already received more than 350 emails from independent repairers, many I believe are AAAA members, thanking the Morrison Government for implementing the scheme.”