As we launch the final Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine for 2020, it is great that we can wrap up with some positive news on a number of fronts after what has been a tough year

Melbourne has now successfully fought back against COVID-19 and joined the rest of Australia in eased restrictions, which is both professionally and personally welcome. We hope Melbourne can now enjoy the strong rebound in business levels that the other states and territories have experienced.

I am confident that with the continued restrictions on international travel, Australians will turn to their vehicles for regional and interstate holidays over the summer months. They will in turn look to our industry for vehicle service, repair and modifications so they can explore our great land in safety and comfort.

With large scale industry events and exhibitions still off the radar in Australia, we were successful in bringing the industry together digitally for the recent AAAA Automotive Industry Leaders Forum.
We were very proud to host the most important, and what became arguably the largest industry event for 2020 – attracting more than 900 registrations and signalling the appetite our industry has for important news and updates.

The forum proved to be a momentous day for our industry because it included the outstanding news that mandatory data sharing draft legislation will be released for consultation over the next few weeks.

The highly anticipated announcement was delivered by our keynote speaker, Federal Assistant Treasurer the Honourable Michael Sukkar MP, and was celebrated by everyone participating in the Forum. Although the law is not in place yet, the Minister’s statement made it abundantly clear: the law is coming, and soon.

The AAAA has worked tirelessly in close step with our supportive members to champion this major issue for our broader industry and I could not be more proud of the determination and commitment of so many people over so many years. While there is still work to be done to ensure we have an effective scheme, it is important we celebrate and acknowledge these important milestones along the way.

So where do we go from here? Once the draft legislation is released, a short consultation period will follow before the legislation is introduced to Parliament.

This mandatory data sharing scheme has a wide number of stakeholders involved, from the car companies, to dealerships, independent service and repair providers, car owners and their representative associations.

To represent these interests, an independent body will be formed to assist with education, awareness, and dispute resolution to support the operationalisation of the new Law. The AAAA will be represented on the Board of this group and confirming the Government’s commitment to the process, Minister Sukkar also announced a $250,000 grant to support the establishment of this body.

We are sure you are as excited as we are to hear this news and we look forward to providing further updates on mandatory data sharing shortly while continuing to champion this critical issue for our industry.

Following on from these announcements, the forum also provided additional value and knowledge for the hundreds who tuned in across the country.

Another keynote speaker was David Fraser, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Capricorn Society.

David presented the Capricorn ‘State of the Nation’ findings. This significant survey providing fascinating insights into the automotive service and repair sector and David also offered tips and directions to build efficiency and profitability in your business. I want to thank David and Capricorn for their support.

AAAA Director of Government Relations and Advocacy, Lesley Yates, then took attendees on a tour of the right to repair movement around the world. This was a great complementary presentation to the Minister’s announcement and provided further context and examples of what the mandatory data sharing scheme may end up looking like in Australia.

AAAA forums have traditionally allowed industry participation through Q&A sessions, and the Automotive Industry Leaders Forum was no different. The Panel, which included AAAA Chairman Mark Pedder as well as Lesley and David, enjoyed being able to interact directly with participants and answer some relevant and broad ranging questions.

The Automotive Industry Leaders Forum was a great success and judging by the attendee feedback, it was a valuable and insightful few hours for everyone. As great as it was, we certainly hope we can see everyone in person at events in 2021.

Although 2020 has been a year to forget in many ways, as I look back I am filled with pride at the countless examples of how our industry has soldiered on, remained positive, supported each other and worked through the tough times.

I am also incredibly proud of the team at the AAAA, for their tireless work despite the disruptions and challenges. They have just got on with it and made sure we continue to provide the support our members and the broader industry has needed.

The AAAA Board have also been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance throughout 2020, which has been invaluable.
Our members continue to drive us forward and we have seen near record levels of membership renewals and new memberships, off the back of the support, services and resources we have provided members throughout 2020.

We hope you enjoy this issue of our industry-leading magazine, which as always is filled with interesting news, business advice, new products and services from our broad and passionate industry. Looking through the issue has only reinforced why I am so proud to be part of this great industry.

On behalf of the entire AAAA team, I wish you all the best as we head into Christmas and the New Year. I think it is fair to say we have all earned a break – roll on 2021!