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May 15, 2018

Labor is driving a better deal to put more money back into the pockets of car owners and give 23,000 independent repairers a boost – with a plan to make car manufacturers share their technical information so that vehicles can be serviced by any mechanic.

Today, I will meet with Nathan, a local independent mechanic who has been campaigning for a level playing field for all mechanics, even if they’re not affiliated with car manufacturers.

It is difficult as an independent mechanic to compete with authorized shops, when important information required to service certain cars is withheld by the manufacturers.

New cars are computers on wheels. Real-time access to digital files and codes, which vary from car to car, is needed to complete many aspects of a repair or service. Car manufacturers generally own and control this technical information and in many cases are the only sources.

Whether you own a Toyota Corolla or a Ford Ranger, everyone should be able to choose where they get their car serviced. But limited access to this vital information pushes up prices for car services, and limits the ability of independent mechanics to grow their business and generate more jobs.

That’s why a Shorten Labor Government will require car manufacturers to share technical information with independent mechanics on commercially fair and reasonable terms, with safeguards that enable environmental, safety and security-related technical information to be shared with the independent sector.

Labor will stick up for small businesses, Aussie tradies and keeping the cost of living down for families.

While the LNP may market themselves as the party for small business, the wall to wall Gold Coast LNP MPs have been silent on this issue.

Just like with the NBN, the Gold Coast LNP would rather be silent than fight for small businesses.

This reform will not only deliver savings to drivers, who will have better choice and easier access to repairs, but also create a level playing field for independent mechanics who will be able to stay in business as a result.

Labor has been calling for independent mechanics to get access to the same technical information which car manufacturers make available to their authorised dealers and preferred repairer networks.

Five months ago the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission backed Labor’s recommendations to ensure Australia’s new car retailing industry isn’t shutting out independent mechanics and forcing up prices for motorists.

Unfortunately despite a grassroots campaign in our community local LNP MPs has failed to act for our mechanics.

Independent mechanics have been going to the wall while Malcolm Turnbull and his Gold Coast MPs sat on their hands – there’s no reason that this reform shouldn’t happen straight away.

Labor understands it’s your car and it should be your choice where it gets repaired – our plan will deliver money to the household budget and give local mechanics a boost to their business.