The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) and the Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) have welcomed the introduction of so-called ‘data sharing’ legislation to the Australian parliament to mandate access to motor vehicle service and repair information.
The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme Bill) 2021 was introduced to parliament yesterday and can be read on parliament’s website.
In a joint statement, the organisations say the legislation fulfils a government election commitment to act on a recommendation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for a mandatory scheme, compelling car manufacturers to share technical service and repair information with all Australian repairers.
Describing the data sharing legislation as “ground-breaking”, AAAA CEO Stuart Charity and MTAA CEO Richard Dudley said the bill captures and improves the critical elements of existing international legislation and regulation, providing an Australian market-based legislative solution with ongoing operational guidance from the automotive sector.
“The ACCC Market Study into New Car Retailing confirmed a market failure requiring government intervention to ensure consumer choice and competition,” said Charity. “AAAA and MTAA advocated solutions to address a clear power imbalance that prevented fair and equitable competition because car manufacturers withheld critical motor vehicle service and repair information. Withholding information created barriers to consumers exercising their right to choose a repairer, and for professional qualified mechanics and repairers, the ability to complete a repair.”
Dudley said the MTAA and AAAA worked with other automotive sector organisations and government to arrive at a workable solution.
“MTAA investigated the European Union legislation, analysed the United States solution, and with AAAA, used our reach into these and other jurisdictions and kindred organisations to help identify potential solutions to a complex issue,” said Dudley.
“However, the introduction of the legislation would not have been possible without the government’s commitment to act on the ACCC’s recommendation and the drive of Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar and his department to make it happen.”
Charity and Dudley said they encourage all parliamentarians to provide bipartisan support for the legislation’s passage through parliament and its timely enactment.
The associations also said they look forward to working with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA), and the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) to establish the industry-led Scheme Adviser to meet requirements of the legislation and “start the flow of information.”
The FCAI, however, was quick to criticise the bill, claiming that it would create an administrative burden on independent repairers and car companies.