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AAAA, HVIA push for auto repair and parts to be classified ‘essential business’

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association and Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia are campaigning for the government to include automotive parts and repair services on the ‘essential business’ list, enabling them to remain open under lockdown conditions in order to support emergency vehicles, essential transportation services and those who will need to support the most vulnerable members of our community.

Note: New Zealand has published a list of essential businesses on its official government COVID-19 response website, which includes “any entity providing services to keep vehicles operational for essential work purposes (eg vehicle testing, mechanics, tyre services)”.

“Our industry keeps other industries moving, said AAAA chief executive Stuart Charity.

“Without parts supply and automotive repair, other services will suffer. Emergency vehicles, medical supply, food and other transportation will require time-critical replacement parts and urgent repair.”

According to the AAAA, treating automotive repair and parts supply as an essential service would bring Australia into line with other countries, where these activities are already considered an essential service.

“We want to make sure that we can keep cars and trucks on the road in this time of crisis, particularly for those who are supporting others or accessing medical care or medication. With delivery services being restricted by some supermarkets, being able to access a local supermarket for many people requires a car,” said Mr Charity.

“We are calling on Government to ensure auto parts and repair is deemed an essential service so that our industry can play its role in supporting the country through these challenging times.”

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia CEO Todd Hacking echoed Mr Charity’s comments, given the importance of keeping freight moving.

“We recognise that there is some confusion over what are deemed essential services in some jurisdictions,” he said.

“Sectors of our industry are managing unprecedented demand, especially fuel, fresh produce, refrigerated and general freight transporters who are working overtime to keep our supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals stocked.

“The supply chain is extensive. It’s very important we keep freight moving and this goes beyond the truck – it includes regular maintenance, service and repair; it includes manufacturing, component and technology supply and technical support.

“These vehicles work hard, so it is imperative that our members are enabled to support them through supply, maintenance, parts and repair.”

The Australian federal government has listed the below businesses as ‘essential’ and to remain open during a lockdown provided they comply with social distancing measures:

  • Supermarkets
  • Banks
  • Petrol stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Convenience stores
  • Freight and logistics
  • Food delivery
  • Bottle shops

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