As he prepares to leave parliament, the AAAA and the Aftermarket Industry thank Craig Ondarchie
for his support

Craig Ondarchie’s political career will come to an end in November, with the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) and the wider Aftermarket industry rushing to congratulate the popular MP on his successful and highly effective tenure.
Across his time in government, Craig has championed many a cause on behalf of the Aftermarket and provided invaluable support to the AAAA; playing an instrumental role in a long list of industry developments – most notably, the Mandatory Data Sharing Legislation which came into effect earlier this year.
AAAA Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Charity, said Craig’s efforts and support have been absolutely critical to the advancement of the industry.
“Craig has been in Parliament for 12 years and we have enjoyed a strong relationship with him for all of those years,” Stuart said.
“Very early on, he made the effort to meet with us and understand the industry, and you could tell from the start he had really strong business acumen and a really strong grasp on the scale of the aftermarket and the importance of our industry to employment, to exports and to economic output.
“He played a crucial role in the Mandatory Data Sharing campaign, which ran for almost the entirety of his term. He was instrumental in bringing the policy into the Coalition in Victoria, and in that party being the first to indicate that if they formed government, they would move forward on legislating Mandatory Data Sharing and that was a really important step in our process to ultimately get Federal Government support.
“When it came to our export efforts, he was again instrumental, to the point he actually came on a trade mission with us to SEMA and met all of the exhibitors and got an understanding of the opportunity they had and the challenges they were facing in developing their businesses overseas.
“Most recently, he held the Shadow Energy portfolio and at our Expo pledged support to upskill technicians to work on Zero and Low Emission Vehicles in Victoria – seeing his party be the first to acknowledge the significant requirement for skills and training in this area.
“Craig is highly respected by me, the AAAA team and all of our industry leaders. His passion and commitment to support the industry is surely going to be missed and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for his outstanding contributions and wish him well in his future endeavours.”
AAAA Director of Government Relations and Advocacy, Lesley Yates, has known Craig since the early 1990s and has worked closely with him across his parliamentary tenure.
“One of the things we have valued the most about Craig is how he has acted as a ‘front door’ for us – anytime where we couldn’t ‘get in,’ he was critical in helping us with a contact or giving us a heads up about who was working on what,” Lesley said.
“Often in politics you will find yourself up against a road block and it may not make sense as to why you are not getting traction on an issue. Craig was fantastic in telling us what was going on and providing a sense of understanding of how the road map was working and who the right person might be.
“Right before the 2016 election for instance he gave us an absolutely critical contact which made the Right to Repair part of the Liberal platform, effectively they agreed to do a review of the voluntary code as part of their election commitment and to act if that voluntary code was not effective. This was a very important milestone in our campaign. Craig got that commitment by helping us identify the right person to speak to, and it certainly wasn’t who you would suspect. We made the right contact at the right time and got the result that eventually led to our new Law.
“The other thing we absolutely love about Craig, and I say this all the time, is that he just ‘gets it.’ You could take him out on a visit or introduce him to a group of automotive leaders or workshop owners and immediately he would be asking questions that revealed his depth of knowledge. He is deeply interested in whoever he is speaking to, he knows what he is talking about because he has lived and breathed it, and you could instantly see the relief and surprise in the people he was speaking to.
“Craig no longer continuing in state parliament is a great loss, but I am certain he is likely to fulfil other important and influential roles and I am hopeful our industry will continue to benefit from his wisdom and his business acumen.”
Rob Herrod of Herrod Performance not only values Craig’s work as a politician, but also as a friend.
“He is an exceptional man. It has been so good having someone in government who takes an honest interest in motoring and the aftermarket,” Rob said.
“I have been working for 47 years full-time and I have never seen anyone like Craig that has done the things he has done for our industry. He is just wonderful with a good and honest passion for the industry and without a doubt, I can’t see anyone else in government filling his shoes. It is very sad that he won’t be around anymore in that capacity.
“He is the hardest working politician I have ever seen, and also a great human and very compassionate. I wish him all the very best for the future and would like to thank him for everything he has done for my business and for this industry.”
mycar Managing Director, Adam Pay, is another who couldn’t say enough good things about Craig’s impact.
“It is hard to truly quantify the contribution Craig has made to the industry. His advocacy and ongoing support have been invaluable,” Adam said.
“One of the legacies Craig will leave is the consumers’ right to repair. I particularly enjoyed working alongside him and the industry as we advocated for, and eventually got over the line, the Motor Vehicle Information Scheme. This was an amazing outcome, which Craig backed every step of the way.
“His passion and dedication to ensuring the best outcome for both consumers and the industry have been greatly appreciated and have shaped the industry’s future.
“Craig’s support for the AAAA, and for the mycar business, has been valued over many years, but most importantly, I’ve personally appreciated our conversations and his willingness to be a sounding board.
“I would like to wish Craig all the very best in his new endeavours and have no doubt he will approach the next season with the same passion he’s demonstrated for his constituents and the automotive aftermarket industry in his parliamentary roles.”
The AAAA and the Aftermarket Magazine team wish Craig all the best for his future endeavours, and thank him for his service.