Home' Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine : Australian Automotive Aftermarket e-Zine - Feb 16 Contents IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST
Why Australia needs a National Automotive Repair & Servicing Portal
Currently there is no guarantee that thousands of
independent mechanics in the automotive repair
and servicing industry in Australia, not aligned to
dealerships, can access basic information from
manufacturers to service vehicles. This could
remove the fundamental freedom of choice from
any of the 17 million Australian vehicle owners to
decide on who they want to service their vehicle.
There is no policy by any party to address the issue
of consumer rights in relation to the access of
technical data and information from manufacturers
to have their vehicles serviced. An attempt to set
up a voluntary industry code for the sharing of
repair information in 2014 has resulted in only
nine out of 68 car brands supplying the Australian
market making any information available via an
electronic portal as required under this agreement.
In addition, much of the data provided by those
nine car companies falls well short of the terms of
the agreement with only one car brand fully
meeting the requirements of the Code.
This situation of restricted information leads to an
anti-competitive market in relation to one of
Australia’s largest areas of economic development
and employment and is not able to be addressed by
the ACCC without Government intervention.
The reality is that the servicing needs of Australian
motorists is seven times greater than the capacity
of the dealer network. The issue of consumer rights
and ownership of data for repair and servicing can
be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties with
the establishment of a National Automotive Repair
and Servicing Portal backed by regulating the
mandatory participation of all car companies
operating in Australia.
Why the Government should act NOW with
In an average three-month period, 43 percent of
Australian motorists (or 6,484,000 people) take
their main vehicle to a professional for some kind
of service or repairs. When it comes to routine
services, consumers choose traditional automotive
garage/workshops (42 percent) and the dealer
where the motorist bought their vehicle in the first
place (29 percent), according to Roy Morgan
Research from 2015.
A National Automotive Repair and Servicing Portal
is the practical solution to implementing effective
competition policy in the car repair and servicing
industry in Australia.
Failure to address the need for a National
Automotive Repair and Servicing Portal will leave
Australia’s Competition Policy, Digital Economy,
Employment, Climate Change, Automotive Industry
Transition and Small Business Policies with a
considerable technology black hole with economic
penalties in both the short and long term for
Australia’s car owners.
Failure to act NOW at this point of rapid technology
change could place Australia at least a decade
behind the United States that has a National
Repair and Servicing Portal in operation with
exactly the same car manufacturers that operate in
In the national interest, the Australian Automotive
Aftermarket Association believes the Federal
Government with bipartisan support should take
the following steps:
• Immediately move to provide the Australian
community with a robust and effective National
Automotive Repair and Servicing Portal based
on the principles and legislative framework of
the US model.
• Announce funding and the timetable to put the
National Automotive Repair and Servicing
Portal in place by the end of 2016.
• Outline the administrative arrangement for the
establishment and management of the National
Automotive Repair and Servicing Portal.
In December last year the AAAA team took these
messages to Canberra, meeting with the
Government, the opposition, Greens and cross
bench senators to call for urgent action. Across a
two day period, an extensive number of MPs were
presented with evidence of how important this
issue is to every car owner in Australia.
Members of Parliament expressed their concern
about the likely detrimental effect on competition
and many MPs were very concerned that the
voluntary agreement had not produced any
consumer benefit, had reduced the number of
independent repairers and that compliance with
the Heads of Agreement had not been actively
monitored by Government.
Greens Senator Janet Rice made a clear and
definitive statement in the Senate calling for a
better solution and the Government announced
that they were taking another look at this issue.
Members of Parliament are all aware that this is a
big issue for our economy and for every household
During that visit, AAAA Executive Director, Stuart
Charity, joined Senator Ricky Muir at a media
conference to call on the government to require
manufacturers to make data available to
independent repairers, and to implement a national
repair and servicing portal that is overseen by an
independent body and enforceable by the ACCC.
Senator Muir also announced that if the
government does not move to implement a
mandatory solution as a matter of urgency, he will
introduce a private members’ bill which seeks to
do so in the first session of Parliament this year.
The AAAA will continue working hard to represent
the interests of independent repairers and
Australian consumers, and to achieve fair access
to essential vehicle diagnostic and repair
information. Our team will continue to liaise with
all sides of parliament, advocating for a solution
based on a model that has been effectively
operating in the United States for over three years
This is not a small, industry specific issue: there
are 17 million vehicles in Australia and almost
every household is affected by vehicle repair costs.
If independent repairers don’t have access to
information, they will increasingly not be able to
repair modern vehicles, and reduced competition
will see the price of car repair escalate for every
motor vehicle on our roads.
Over the coming months, we’ll be providing you
with updates on the progress of our campaign, as
well as seeking your support in ensuring our
message is heard loud and clear.
Choice of repairer. It’s in the national interest.
‘Like’ the AAAA on www.facebook.com/AusAutoAftermaketAssoc
follow on twitter.com/AAAATweets and join its discussion group
on www.linkedin.com/groups/4203117 to keep up to date with its
To see the USA National Portal in action, please go to:
AAAM FEB 2016 TRADE - EZINE:AM MAGAZINE SHELL 16/2/16 10:39 AM Page 5
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