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Thursday, 3 October 1974
Page: 1688

Senator Primmer asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

(1)   Did General Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd place on the market HQ Holden and LJ Torana vehicles with fuel tanks subject to leaking at the seams: if so how many such vehicles were produced and what steps were taken to overcome the fault.

(2)   Would such a fault affect the safety of the vehicles.

Senator Cavanagh - The Minister for Transport has provided the following answer:

My Department has received no complaints about the matter raised in the question. It was discussed with Genera] Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd and they provided the following information:

(   1 ) We did experience weepage of the fuel tank and we have kept a constant check.

A total of 374,649 HQ vehicles were produced to July 1974, and we have replaced at our cost, all tanks in which faults were reported, totalling 3567, or 0.95 per cent of our production.

We requested and received tanks that had been removed and replaced to assist us in our investigation into the problem. We are still observing.

Action was taken in production to overcome the problem and our field reports have proved the effectiveness of the change in our technique.

(2)   With regard to safety, the fuel tank is isolated from the inside of the vehicle and the exhaust system extends well beyond the fuel tank region.

We have had no cases of fire reported to us from the field organisation, and we consider any danger in this area remote. The extent of weepage from the seams was such that in by far the majority of cases the fuel evaporated.

In July 1972, the Australian Transport Advisor)' Council approved, on a trial basis, a uniform code of practice for safety related defect campaigns which had been prepared by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The operations of the scheme were to be reviewed, and in fact, several weeks ago 1 asked my Department to convene a meeting to review the operation of the Code. These deliberations will include considerations of the extent of the Code's coverage, but I should add that the matters raised in this question would not come witin the scope of the Code as it is framed at present. 1 repeat the invitation I issued last March, for people with complaints about the quality of their vehicles to submit them directly to me. Special 'hot line' contacts have been established between my Department and motor vehicle manufacturers to ensure that legitimate complaints receive prompt attention.

I might also add that I will ask the new National Authority on Road Safety and Standards, as soon as it is established, to investigate the incidence of defects in motor vehicles, not necessarily related to safety, which are causing concern to consumers generally-

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