Australia’s Right to Repair Proposal for Motor Vehicles Is a Good Start

Last month, the Australian government began the process necessary to pass a Right to Repair law that would allow Australians to get their vehicles fixed by the mechanic of their choice. It’s a refreshing proposal, following in the footsteps of Massachusetts and the EU—but their initial plan doesn’t go quite far enough.

The consultation paper published by the Australian Treasury goes further than any current Right to Repair law, importantly including access to wireless ‘telematics’ diagnostics. The government is currently taking responses from Australian citizens through March 11.

The proposal requires automobile manufacturers to share diagnostic and service information—which are currently only available to a select list of authorized car dealerships—with independent mechanics. This would put the country’s auto repair laws on par with the US and Europe, where anyone can get their car fixed by any mechanic of their choosing—whether it’s an independent mom-and-pop shop down the street or the huge dealership in the city.

The vehicle repair industry benefits from right to repair legislation in Australia

This is a great first step for Australia’s vehicle repair industry, but the proposal is too limited. For starters, it only applies to motor vehicles, which in itself is a bit “too-little-too-late,” as the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce notes, and is something that’s already been in discussion for several years. It leaves farmers out in the cold, only including “passenger vehicles, four wheel drive vehicles and vans.” They note that farm equipment could be included, but would require further work and “this would delay potential implementation of a scheme.” (For the Americans in the audience, “scheme” is Aussie for a proposal or plan.)

Electronics and farm equipment should get the same priority for drafting Right to Repair legislation in Australia. Farmers are in dire need of legislative relief, as we’ve talked about extensively.

Still, this proposal is a great first step, and we’re excited to get the ball rolling in the land down under. The Treasury has given us until Monday, March 11 to ask them to expand their scheme, and they’ve set up an inbox just for this: repairinfo@treasury.gov.au. Give them a piece of your mind!

Photo by Aaron Huber/Unsplash