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Draft legislation for mandatory repair data sharing released by Australian federal government

Independent automotive repairers have some great news with which to go into the holiday season, with the release of draft legislation that if passed, will make it illegal for car companies to withhold information from aftermarket workshops.

A short consultation period will finish at the end of January 2021, with the law expected to come into effect soon afterwards.

Federal Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar with automotive repairers
Federal Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar with automotive repairers

Celebrating the announcement after 10 years of campaigning for repair information sharing, Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association CEO Stuart Charity said the progress was “testament to the strength and ongoing commitment of our industry to battle for so long to have the law changed”.

“We look forward to analysing the draft law and thank all the AAAA members for their steadfast campaigning to get us to this point,” he added.

“We started campaigning for this law a decade ago and have been through two government inquiries and even through a voluntary agreement in 2014, which was a complete failure.”

Mr Charity expected the car industry to fight back against the legislation and listed a number of arguments that had been rejected in overseas markets such as Europe, South Africa and North America.

“We do expect the car industry will continue to argue that there is no market failure and no need for government intervention.  This is in spite of a specific recommendation by the ACCC that the Government introduce a mandatory scheme to force car companies to share service and repair data,” he said.

“There are different solutions employed by different countries to address what is essentially a failure of the market to ensure that price, quality, supply and demand can find the equilibrium that occurs within markets that do not have unfair competition produced by the abuse of technological and market power and supply chain dominance.”

Crediting Federal Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar as “the prime mover” of mandating repair information sharing, Mr Charity thanked the Minister for his work.

“He has personally steered this through Government, and we thank him for his leadership,” said Mr Charity.

“This is not about favouring any one sector: The independent repair sector wants more, not less competition. When consumers have full and free choice of repairers, our markets operate efficiently, and will reward the best car companies, dealerships, independents, parts suppliers, and service providers.”

Read the draft and join the consultation here