THURSDAY, 30 JUNE 2022
SUBJECT: Government helping drive down costs for car owners.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY ANDREW LEIGH: My name is Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. I'd like to thank Clem Camage Motors - Craig and his team - for having us here today for an enormously exciting announcement.
Modern cars are computers on wheels, and yet independent mechanics have struggled to get the digital files and codes they need to fix your car. When independent mechanics can't get access to the data they need, consumers pay more and don't have the choice that they require. We’re about to go into school holidays and many Australians will be taking that road trip, going up the coast maybe. And if you break down on a road trip, you might not find that there's a dealer nearby who specialises in the vehicle you're driving. But you'll probably find an independent mechanic round the corner. If that independent mechanic can get access to the digital files they need, they can get you back out on the road and enjoying your school holidays.
Labor has fought hard for the reforms that come into force on the first of July. For our ‘Your Car, Your Choice’ policy, we made absolutely clear that we felt the status quo wasn't sustainable, and that it was vital to get that information out there. We recognise that it's important for independent mechanics to do the work they do, to employ those apprentices, to sustain those more than 20,000 small businesses across Australia. In ensuring that independent mechanics have access to the data they need, we also deal directly with one of the cost of living pressures for ordinary Australians. We ensure a competitive marketplace for mechanics. There's plenty of work to go around, which is why behind me we've got representatives of the industry bodies that have come together - representatives of the manufacturers, the dealers, the independent mechanics. This is a reform that's been backed by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association, recognising the value to motorists of having that information out there.
This is good for choice, it's good for jobs in a great industry, and it's great for Australian drivers. I'll hand over now to Stuart Charity to make a couple of comments for the AAAA.
Automotive Service and Repair Authority Limited Company Secretary Stuart Charity: Thank you, Minister. On behalf of the AAAA, I'd like to thank you for your leadership on this issue. You were one of those members of parliament that just got the issue straight away, and you fought very hard to get the Labor Party across this issue and to get this through shadow cabinet at the time. And you were very supportive once that legislation went through, so as an industry we're really excited to be working with you. I'd also like to acknowledge my industry colleagues that are here - Tony Weber from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, James Voortman from the Automotive Dealers Association, and John Khoury representing the Motor Traders Association in Australia. We don't always see eye to eye on every issue, but this is now a sort of coming together moment where the industry is going to work for the benefit of Australian consumers to make this scheme work.
On behalf of 27,000 independent mechanical workshops right across Australia, plus many more collision repair workshops, this really is a game changing moment for us. It does mean that every automotive workshop who have the skills and the training and the tools can now work on any vehicle and provide that full level service. So that gives every Australian car owner choice, whether they want to go to a dealer or they want to go to an independent. It's really their choice, but they'll be assured that any workshop that they go to has access to that information. So, that's great for competition and we welcome competition. From tomorrow morning onwards, we will have a website up and running and we'll have an industry body that will be there to support the industry to access this information.
So again, thank you Minister for your leadership on this issue, and thanks to Craig from Repco Authorised Services in Queanbeyan here for hosting us and thank you all for coming. Finally, we've got a couple of officials from Treasury here, and I'd like to thank Megan and Lauren for their work on actually crafting legislation, designing the scheme. We're really excited about the future and making this scheme work. So, thank you very much. Minister.
LEIGH: Thanks Stuart. Do we have any questions? Thanks very much everyone, exciting day tomorrow.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.