HON. WAYNE SWAN MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LILLEY
CONSTITUENCY STATEMENT (AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY)
FEDERATION CHAMBER, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY 16 MARCH 2016
***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***
Australia needs a right to repair act. The federal Liberal government's failure to ensure that the Australian automotive after-market businesses have third-party access to software and vehicle diagnostics of motor vehicle manufacturers is putting yet another nail in the coffin of Australian manufacturing. Last week I meet with three automotive businesses in my electorate, and industry representatives: Lesley Yates from the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association, Ian Cole from the MTA, Tony McMahon from the AAEN, Maurice Donovan from Allautos Advanced at Geebung, Angelo from APF Motors at Boondall and Dean Wally from Newman Mechanical at Geebung. Maurice, Angelo and Dean are hardworking Lilley small business owners who have been providing outstanding car servicing and repairs to local people for decades. However, their businesses—and, for that matter, the entire Australian automotive after-market industry—is at risk. This federal government must act now to save thousands of small businesses which make up that industry.
The threat to this industry is coming from car manufacturers, all of them foreign owned, and in a few years time all of them will have no Australian manufacturing presence. With the effective computerisation of modern vehicles, new vehicles are increasingly reliant on a range of microprocessors to control everything from entertainment to climate control, air-conditioning to security, and monitor everything from traction control to battery and oil levels to tyre pressure. Modern vehicles are so technologically sophisticated that the vehicle's onboard computer system is able to tell car servicers and repairers exactly what needs attention. However, to access that information from the system, tools and software, as well as unique access codes, are required. The businesses that I met with last week tell me that motor vehicle manufacturers are progressively removing third-party access to software and vehicle diagnostics, and it is therefore becoming increasingly difficult for anyone other than the manufacturer's own dealer network to service and repair these vehicles.
I understand that there are many instances where motor vehicle manufacturers have refused to share central repair and maintenance data and software with the non-dealer network. These manufacturers also refuse to provide the non-dealer network with technical service bulletins detail in common vehicle faults and how to repair them. These practices mean that automotive after-market businesses, like those business owned by Maurice, Angelo and Dean, find it increasingly difficult to service and repair modern vehicles. Not only do these practices reduce competition; they effectively funnel motorists back to the manufacturers' dealers network. The government must act immediately to ensure motor vehicle manufacturers comply with the existing voluntary code of conduct and investigate what is needed to implement a mandatory code of conduct or a right to repair act.