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Productivity Commission inquiry into the commercial relationship between the smash repair industry and the insurance industry. \n



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NO.076

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP TREASURER

THE HON JOE HOCKEY MP MINISTER FOR SMALL BUSINESS

PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION INQUIRY INTO THE COMMERCIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SMASH REPAIR INDUSTRY AND THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY

The Productivity Commission is to inquire into the commercial relationship between the smash repair industry and the insurance industry at the request of the Treasurer, Peter Costello, and the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Joe Hockey.

The Productivity Commission will investigate ways in which transparency, competitiveness and consumer protection in the smash repair industry can be improved.

“Smash repairers have told me that they are concerned about their ongoing viability as a sector. They are worried about the difficulties they face when presented with commercial arrangements over which they feel they have little or no control,” Mr Hockey said.

The Commission has been asked to report on -

● the appropriateness and transparency of criteria used by insurance companies to award ‘preferred smash

repairer’ status to smash repairers; ● the financial relationships between smash repairers and insurance companies;

● arrangements for consumers to have a reasonable choice in the selection of repairers; and

● the extent, adequacy and independence of dispute resolution systems between the smash repair industry,

insurance companies and consumers.

“This Government is about ensuring that we have vigorous competition in markets to drive good outcomes for consumers. And a key element of a vigorous market is informed parties and transparent commercial arrangements,” Mr Costello said

The Commission is to provide a draft report within three months of receiving the reference and a final report within five months.

Mr Costello also announced the appointment of Mr Curt Rendall as an Associate Commissioner to the Inquiry.

“As a current member of the Board of Taxation’s advisory panel and former member of the Dawson Review of the Trade Practices Act, Mr Rendall brings a broad understanding of competition and finance related issues to the position.”

Mr Hockey said the Commission would soon seek expressions of interest from parties wishing to participate in the inquiry.

“I urge all interested parties to take part and make a submission,” he said.

To register interest in the inquiry or find out more, details are available from the Productivity Commission at www.pc.gov.au or phone 02 6240 3239. Terms of reference for the inquiry are available from the Productivity Commission website.

CANBERRA 31 August 2004

Contact:

David Alexander Treasurer’s Office 02 6277 7340

Bob Lawrence Office of Minister for Small Business and Tourism 02 9929 9822

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000