Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Page: 9399

Automotive Industry


Senator MUIR (Victoria) (14:37): My question is for the Minister for Finance, representing the Minister for Small Business. It is now the 12-month anniversary of the voluntary code of conduct in relation to automotive service and data repairs between manufacturers and independent repairers. When the voluntary code of conduct was agreed to there was a provision for it to be reviewed in 12 months time. Considering that the 12-month mark has been reached, is the government considering reviewing the effectiveness of the voluntary code of conduct per the agreement itself?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:37): I thank Senator Muir for that question. The development of the voluntary code of practice access to service and repair information for motor vehicles was in fact a two-step process. The former Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, facilitated its development through the signing of a heads of agreement to the 'agreement on access to service and report information for motor vehicles' by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the Australian Automobile Association and the Australian Automotive Dealer Association on 15 December 2014, nearly 12 months ago. This is what enabled the development of the voluntary code of access to service and repair information for motor vehicles by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries in February of this year. The voluntary code has only been in existence since February 2015. The code state in clause 1.4:

An initial review of the Code must be conducted within eighteen months of the commencement of the Code.

In accordance with the code, the government expects the review to be conducted by August 2016.


Senator MUIR (Victoria) (14:38): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. In an average three-month period 6.5 million vehicle owners have their vehicle serviced. Forty-two per cent of these vehicle owners elect to use an independent repairer. However, I am advised that, to date, only one of Australia's 68 car companies is complying fully with the voluntary code of conduct. Given the failure of the voluntary code to share service repair data, what does the government intend to do to protect the consumer's choice of repairer?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:39): I thank Senator Muir for that supplementary. The government and, more specifically, the Minister for Small Business and the Assistant Treasurer are aware of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association's concerns regarding independent repairers' access to vehicle servicing information. With the widespread use of onboard computer systems in new vehicles, access to such data is important to enable independent vehicle repairers to service vehicles and provide consumers the choice of whom they wish to service their vehicle. The agreement we have been talking about has dispute resolution processes whereby signatories to the agreement can notify the steering committee of any breaches to the agreement by other participating members. This includes the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, who represent manufacturers.


Senator MUIR (Victoria) (14:40): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Will the government commit to a solution that involves the mandatory sharing of vehicle diagnostic and repair information?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:40): While I am not in a position to make the sort of commitment that Senator Muir is seeking there, the government is open to listening further to the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association's concern in relation to these matters and will be monitoring the effectiveness of the code in the lead-up to the 18-months review. I encourage the AAAA to engage with this process.