MINISTER SUKKAR RECOGNISED
The AAAA Board has conferred upon Minister Michael Sukkar a special recognition award for achieving national legislative reform for the benefit of the automotive industry and Australian consumers
At the Australian Auto Aftermarket Excellence Awards Banquet, the AAAA took a moment to formally acknowledge Federal Assistant Treasurer, the Honourable Michael Sukkar.
Minister Sukkar was celebrated for his instrumental role in the passing of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Bill.
The Bill was passed by the Senate into law in June last year and the new scheme will take effect from 1 July this year.
The law will make it illegal for car companies to withhold information from qualified independent mechanics.
This will keep the cost of replacement parts, vehicle maintenance and repair affordable and create fair and open competition in our industry.
“Interestingly it was at this very dinner in 2009, that we launched the Choice of Repairer Campaign,” AAAA Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Charity, said.
“After 13 long years of fighting for this outcome we should congratulate ourselves as an industry for our vision, for our commitment and our resilience.
“We never lost faith throughout the campaign and despite how big the battle and how hard the fight, we kept going.
“And we have collectively created a legacy that will help secure the future of our great industry.
“But we must also recognise that this Law wouldn’t have been possible without political leadership to make it a reality.
“Right from the beginning, Minister Sukkar was a champion of this issue – he had supported his local independent mechanic for decades and in his own words – it didn’t matter which car he owned, he always took it to the same repairer because they were trusted by Michael and his extended family.
“He knew this was about consumer choice, about supporting small business and eventually of course, about keeping car service and repair affordable.
“And that is no small feat – lots of MPs struggled to understand data sharing.
“We met with so many from all sides of politics and worked with eight different competition or small business Ministers – and while many were supportive, Michael Sukkar accepted that the system needed fixing and he championed the cause.
“We cannot, and should not, underestimate how hard this was to guide through the political and bureaucratic hurdles of government.
“It took a great deal of courage and commitment – firstly, to get the Morrison Government to commit to legislation, then to get it drafted and finally to argue the legislation through Cabinet requiring the sign off of 12 other Ministers.
“We give our political leaders a pretty hard time, but we do need to recognise and acknowledge outstanding vision and leadership when we see it.
“The AAAA Board of Directors felt strongly that it was time to recognise that we wouldn’t be where we are today if not for the leadership of Michael Sukkar.”
The Minister’s Chief of Staff, Barmak Amini, accepted the award on behalf of Michael Sukkar while the Minister addressed the audience through a video message.
“Thank you for this very special recognition award,” Minister Sukkar said.
“In accepting this award, I would like to acknowledge the crucial role of you, the AAAA and the independent service and repair sector have played in getting these reforms across the line, particularly to Stuart Charity and his team for the outstanding work that they have done in supporting me.
“You made it clear that the previous voluntary policy arrangements with manufacturers around sharing service and repair information just weren’t working.
“Independent repairers were being left without the information they needed to able to do their jobs, and around one in 10 cars being taken into repair workshops were being affected by a lack of access to service and repair information.
“It was a long road, but we are close to the finish line with the mandatory scheme set to commence on the 1st of July this year.
“The new mandatory scheme is world leading legislation which will require car manufacturers to share service and repair information with independent repairers at fair market price.
“Under these reforms, car owners will be able to go to the repairers of their choice without worrying about whether they have the information to do the job.
“It will level the playing field for independent repairers and give Australians ultimately more choice over where they service and repair their car.
“I was also pleased to recently announce the appointment of the newly established, industry led, Australian Automotive Service and Repair Authority to administer the scheme and a $250,000 grant to the Authority in order to establish an online portal to facilitate access to the information.
“The success of this scheme wouldn’t have been possible without the industry support, and I want to thank all of the industry leaders for their support to make this happen and to have the reforms in practice.
“Thank you again, I am very grateful for this award.”
For more information about the Awards, visit www.aftermarketawards.com.au