The Australian consumer is the big winner from today’s passing by the Senate of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme Bill.
Following nearly a decade of campaigning by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), the new law will make it illegal for car companies to withhold information from qualified independent mechanics – keeping the cost of replacement parts, vehicle maintenance and repair affordable.
The CEO of the AAAA, Stuart Charity, said the mandatory scheme will require all motor vehicle service and repair information to be made available for purchase by independent repairers at a fair market price.
“It has been a long time coming but will be welcome news for the automotive industry. 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,” he said.
The new law is designed to provide a fairer playing field for the repair and service of the 74 automotive brands available in Australia in an industry worth $23 billion annually.
In Australia the motor vehicle servicing and repair industry involves nearly 35,000 businesses employing more than 106,000 Australians.
Mr Charity said around one in 10 motor vehicles taken to repair workshops are affected by a lack of access to service and repair information. “This can often lead to higher service costs for consumers.
“What this law means is that the service and repair information that car manufacturers share with their dealership network must also be made available to independent repairers.”
Mr Charity singled out the Federal Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar. “He has personally steered this through Government, and we thank him for his leadership.”
This new law is the result of unprecedented industry cooperation with over 75 workshops hosting visits from their local MPs to demonstrate what happens when vehicle manufacturers withhold software updates and technical service bulletins. Stuart Charity said “we don’t have a very politicised membership and for our small owner operated workshops to get on board with direct emails and contact with their local MP is the best indicator we have that this is important to our members and to their customers”.
The new scheme will be monitored for compliance by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.