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Workshops hard-hit by COVID-19 but appreciate government assistance, optimistic about future

The automotive service and repair industry has experienced a downturn caused by COVID-19 that is worse than that of the retail sector and almost as deep as that facing hospitality, according to survey data from the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association.

However, Australian workshops are reportedly more satisfied with government assistance than all other small business sectors, with AAAA government relations director Lesley Yates saying more than a third of workshops were “extremely satisfied” and 85 per cent being “somewhat or extremely satisfied”.

In addition to strong uptake of fiscal stimulus measures including JobKeeper wage subsidy (52 per cent) and apprentice wage support Automotive (78 per cent), 25 per cent of workshop owners have taken advantage of opportunities to invest in their businesses through special tax concessions such as instant asset write-off and accelerated depreciation deductions.

While tooling up for post-pandemic life is a show of confidence and 64 per cent of heavily impacted workshop owners expect to “get through it”, 12 per cent of workshops – around 2750 nationwide – remain “very concerned” about their survival.

Trading conditions across the board have been extremely tough, with 83 per cent of workshops reporting reduced revenue and half suffering a downturn greater than 30 per cent.

The AAAA reports: “Victoria is the most affected state with 61 per cent experiencing a 30 per cent or more decline in revenue and Queensland is the lowest at 41 per cent. Regional areas have been less affected with 56 per cent of metropolitan workshops experiencing a 30 per cent or more revenue reduction compared to 40% regionally.”

VASA has created a roundup of this information on its public website, which is regularly updated to reflect the latest information from AAAA and elsewhere.

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