Fair competition

22 April 2022

Driving change

Government policy can make running a business more difficult than it should be. Here are two examples that affect the heavy vehicle and body repair industries. Inconsistencies and lack of harmonisation ultimately bring about consumer detriment.

In order to ensure fair and equitable access to light and heavy vehicle certifications, VACC recommends the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) undertakes a comprehensive review of state and territory Approved Vehicle Examiners (AVE) schemes.

Differences in qualifications, standards, insurance obligations, barriers to entry and cost mean Victoria is at a competitive disadvantage when compared with neighbouring states. Such a review would identify areas for reform or harmonisation and limit cross-border ‘signatory’ shopping.

The Motor Vehicle Insurance and Repair Industry (MVIRI) code of conduct is an agreement between the Insurance Council of Australia and the Motor Trades Association of Australia.

Recent parliamentary enquiries in Western Australia (2018) and South Australia (2020) recommended mandating the code. New South Wales and South Australia are the only jurisdictions with a mandatory code, with South Australia mandating additional financial penalties for breaches.

Given the Federal Government’s responsibility over competition issues in Australia and the longstanding issues experienced in the motor and insurer industries, a common justification for seeking to mandate a new national code is to address the lack of binding dispute resolution processes, interpretation issues and enforceable penalties in the current voluntary arrangements.

An enforceable code provides an important basis of understanding between the parties and their respective rights and obligations, establishing a common ground and bilateral participation across the industry.

The next Australian Government should:

  • Ensure NHVR undertakes a comprehensive review of state and territory AVE schemes, with a view to creating a national scheme
  • Establish a national review of the Motor Vehicle Insurance and Repair Industry code of conduct, with a national framework to mandate and regulate the industry.

Read VACC's 2022 federal election manifesto REVolution: The automotive industry’s policy priorities for the next Australian Government.

Words: VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym.

Share your thoughts! E: As featured in the Herald Sun Friday 22 April 2022.

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