On 24 March, the Morrison Government introduced legislation into the Parliament to establish a mandatory scheme for the sharing of motor vehicle service and repair information.
The scheme will, for the first time, require car Manufacturers to make information about service and repair of their vehicles available for purchase by independent repairers and registered training organisations at a fair market price.
AADA CEO James Voortman welcomed the news and said AADA would continue to work with the Government and Industry on the important underlying detail.
“Dealers recognise that independent repairers have an important role to play in servicing and repairing the tens of millions of motor vehicles on our roads,” he said.
“This information will be shared on fair and reasonable commercial terms and sensitive information will only be made available to suitably vetted and qualified technicians.
“Franchised Dealers take great pride in the quality of service they provide to their customers. Dealers make huge investments in factory training of their qualified technicians along with having the latest tools, equipment and facilities. Independent repairers who choose to commit to similar levels investment for their customers and are suitably qualified should be entitled to compete with Dealers on fair and reasonable grounds and this legislation will give them the chance to do that.”
The scheme is due to come into effect on 1 July 2022 and work on the underlying rules will commence soon. The legislation foreshadows the appointment of a scheme adviser who will oversee operations and report back to Government on progress and if necessary, work with the ACCC to enforce scheme rules and manage any disputes that may arise.
The scheme has been in development for many years and the legislation is the culmination of a lengthy consultation and negotiation process between the AADA, other peak automotive industry associations and the Government.
One of the central principles of the scheme is that information is shared on commercially fair and reasonable terms. AADA is supportive of the legislation, which adheres to this commitment and sets restrictions on sensitive information regarding safety and security.
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said Australia needed a strong service and repair industry to keep the nation’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.
“Currently, around one in ten vehicles taken to repair workshops in Australia are affected by a lack of access to service and repair information. In Europe and the United States, similar schemes are delivering lower repair and maintenance costs for consumers.”
Mr Sukkar said the Government recognised the important role industry would play in ensuring the success and effectiveness of the scheme. It was the Government’s intent to confer the adviser role on a joint industry-led organisation that will have the technical expertise, experience and relationships within the automotive industry to support the scheme.
“We all want the same thing – consumers to be able to access servicing and repairs in a fair, competitive market, and we’re working with the five peak bodies and other industry representatives to make it happen.” Mr Sukkar said.
Subject to passage of the legislation through the Parliament, the scheme will come into effect on 1 July 2022.
The AADA will continue to work with the Government and other associations to structure the scheme such that it meets its intent and treats all businesses involved in automotive repairs fairly and equitably.