Australian Government driving down cost of car repairs

Australian Treasury

Australian drivers will soon have the freedom to have their vehicle serviced by any mechanic, meaning more choice for repairs and more cash in their pocket.

New cars are computers on wheels. Real-time access to vehicle information such as digital files and codes vary from car to car but are needed to complete many aspects of a repair or service. Car manufacturers generally own and control this technical information and in many cases only share it with their dealership’s networks and affiliated repairers, making it difficult for independent repairers to effectively compete for business.

The Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme, commencing tomorrow, requires car manufacturers to make motor vehicle service and repair information available to purchase by all Australian repairers and registered training organisations at a fair market price.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will monitor and enforce the Scheme to ensure information is shared consistently and on time. Where necessary, the ACCC has the power to take enforcement action, with a maximum penalty of $10 million for systemic breaches of the Scheme.

The Australian Government recognises the significant contribution from the Australian automotive industry in both developing and launching the Scheme. The Government has appointed the Automotive Service and Repair Authority Limited (AASRA) to the statutory role of Scheme Adviser. As Adviser, it will undertake key functions including appointing facilitators to mediate disputes in relation to the Scheme, publishing information regarding the cost of scheme information and working with the Government and the ACCC to ensure the Scheme’s success. AASRA has advised Government it intends to help facilitate easy access to and supply of scheme information through an online information sharing portal which will be entirely run by industry for industry.

“Labor has campaigned for years for Australian drivers to have more freedom about who fixes their vehicle. Whether you own a Toyota Corolla or a Ford Ranger, everyone should be able to choose where they get their car serviced.” said Minister Leigh.

“This Scheme delivers on that freedom and aims to reduce the cost of owning and maintaining a car, ultimately delivering better value for the many Australians who drive a car each day.

“Motor vehicle servicing and repair is a $23 billion industry in Australia, but there are over 23,000 independent repairers in Australia who are increasingly finding that they don’t have the information they need to fix a modern car. These new reforms create a level playing field for our independent businesses.

“Labor will always stick up for small businesses, Aussie tradies and keeping the cost of living down for families.”

Secretary of the Automotive Service and Repair Authority Limited Company Stuart Charity said “Minister Leigh has had a long association with the issue, and we look forward to working closely with him particularly in the early days of the legislation.

“The new motor legislation has led to the formation of a joint industry-led organisation which will provide technical support and run an online portal to help facilitate the sharing of scheme information securely and efficiently between car manufacturers and repairers. AASRA will support Australian repairers to source service and repair information directly from car makers. The new Scheme will lead to a stronger Australian automotive service and repair industry keeping 19.8 million vehicles on the road.”

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