An opinion piece by the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Competition and Productivity, Dr Andrew Leigh, about access to independent vehicle service and repair is not supported by the facts, according to the motor vehicle industry’s peak body.

Tony Weber, the Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, said he was appalled that the facts of the issue had been conveniently ignored by Dr Leigh.

“Some two years ago a voluntary agreement was struck between all the key parties involved, including the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association and other representatives of the independent repair sector,” Mr Weber said.

“This was an agreement forged in good faith and with goodwill, and specifically included a mutually agreed mechanism for dispute resolution.

“The misinformation in Dr Leigh’s opinion piece even claims that customers are being forced to go back to their Dealer for service and repair, which is a complete fabrication. In fact, it contravenes consumer law to do this.”

Mr Weber said the industry had made repeated requests for examples of any breaches of the current agreement. The limited number provided have all been investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.

“Dr Leigh claims the industry is withholding important information from the independents. How, then, are the 21,000 independent repairers servicing and repairing the fleet if they don’t have the right information?

“As we have stated repeatedly, a well-trained and proficient independent service and repair sector has a role to play in the overall health of our motor industry.

“The industry is more than happy to work with the independent sector to build on the original agreement and to meet this market need,” Mr Weber said.

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