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Proposed Electrical Safety Act change would limit ability of automotive technicians to work on EVs

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) has raised concerns over recently proposed regulations that could limit the ability of trained auto technicians to service electric vehicles (EVs).

AAAA government relations and advocacy director Lesley Yates

It strongly opposes the recommendation made by the Queensland Electrical Safety Office (ESO) in their Discussion Paper, which proposes that only licensed electricians should be permitted to work on EVs under the Electrical Safety Act.

The AAAA argues that the proposed recommendations pose substantial occupational health and safety risks, with the potential for severe harm or even fatalities to electricians who lack experience, knowledge, or training in automotive systems, as well as the potential danger to consumers.

It suggests that auto technicians who have extensive experience working on combustion-powered, hybrid, and electric vehicles are the most suitable to handle EV maintenance and repair.

Similar concerns have been raised in New South Wales, where last year, proposals were made suggesting that auto technicians should undergo dedicated EV certification training before undertaking any electric vehicle servicing or repair work.

In addition to government regulators, fee-for-service training organisations are also advocating for stringent regulation in the automotive industry.

They propose imposing mandatory and costly additional training requirements. However, the AAAA argues that these proposals do not effectively improve the system or ensure vehicle safety.

The absence of consultation with the automotive industry during the review of the Electrical Safety Act is significant. 

According to AAAA government relations and advocacy director Lesley Yates (pictured), policymakers failed to adequately comprehend the current practices involved in servicing, maintaining, and repairing EVs.

To address this, the AAAA underscores the crucial need for inclusive and extensive discussions involving all relevant stakeholders. Through such engagement, a comprehensive understanding can be achieved, ultimately paving the way for improved outcomes that benefit the industry as a whole.

As the discussion on regulating work on EVs continues, the AAAA is actively lobbying the Queensland government to prevent change. They argue that the current framework, complemented by self-regulation and strong workplace safety measures, has so far effectively managed EV maintenance.

The AAAA cautions that imposing burdensome requirements on auto technicians could potentially disrupt the industry, drive up service costs and limit the availability of skilled labour in an industry already facing a shortage.

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