ADELAIDE, AAP – Australia’s independent auto repairers could soon get access to technical information from car manufacturers to allow them to better service the nation’s fleet of 20 million vehicles.

Legislation mandating the sharing of automotive service and repair information has been introduced into federal parliament and the scheme, if passed, would come into effect in July next year.

Car dealers have welcomed the move with the information to be made available at fair market prices.

In the absence of such laws, a consultation paper prepared by treasury in 2019 found that car producers generally provided the material only to their own dealers.

But it said a genuinely competitive market for motor vehicle service and repair services relied on all Australia’s 35,000 repair and service businesses having fair access.

“We need a strong service and repair industry to keep Australia’s 19.8 million vehicles on the road,” Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said on Wednesday.

“Currently, around one in 10 vehicles taken to repair workshops in Australia are affected by a lack of access to service and repair information.

“In Europe and the United States, similar schemes are delivering lower repair and maintenance costs for consumers.”

The Australian Automotive Dealer Association said it would work with the government and the industry on the underlying detail for the new scheme.

“Dealers recognise that independent repairers have an important role to play in servicing and repairing the tens of millions of motor vehicles on our roads,” chief executive James Voortman said.

“This information will be shared on fair and reasonable commercial terms and sensitive information will only be made available to suitably vetted and qualified technicians.”

The AADA said franchised dealers made huge investments in factory training of their qualified technicians along with having the latest tools, equipment and facilities.

“Independent repairers who choose to commit to similar levels of investment for their customers and are suitably qualified should be entitled to compete with dealers on fair and reasonable grounds and this legislation will give them the chance to do that,” Mr Voortman said.

The legislation also foreshadows the appointment of a scheme adviser who will oversee operations, mediate disputes and report back to government on its progress.

“We all want the same thing. Consumers to be able to access servicing and repairs in a fair, competitive market, and we’re working with the five peak bodies and other industry representatives to make it happen.” Mr Sukkar said.