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THE ground-breaking strengthening of the automotive franchising code of conduct to protect dealers will go ahead despite a federal government ministerial shuffle that sees the minister responsible for getting the code into practice, Michaelia Cash, moved into the role of attorney general.

Her employment, skills, small and family business portfolio is now in the hands of former government services minister Stuart Robert but the Australian Automotive Dealers Association (AADA) is confident the code will be rolled out in July as planned.

The changes to the code have been approved and announced by the prime minister, and last week the key penalty point went through the lower house and is on track to ensure the code becomes law from July 1 this year.

AADA CEO James Voortman said that the association welcomes Mr Robert to the position.

Stuart Robert

“We have full confidence that minister Robert will implement the automotive franchising reforms that Senator Cash was working on and that the prime minister has announced,” Mr Voortman told GoAutoNews Premium.

“AADA met with officials from the Industry Department last week and it is clear that this is a priority for the government.

“In fact, one of the elements of the reforms, the $10 million fines, passed the House of Representatives last week.”

Mr Voortman said the AADA now looked forward to working with the new minister and his department to ensure the implementation of the reforms announced by the prime minister.

One of Senator Cash’s major and most recent initiatives was her letter to Australian dealers that showed strong support for the code and an understanding of the often confronting relationship between OEMs and dealers.

This came after the prime minister allocated the code of conduct issue to the senator, taking it out of the hands of industry minister Karen Andrews.

The most recent cabinet reshuffle sees Senator Cash moved to the role of attorney general, a position she had been acting in while personal issues sidelined former portfolio minister Christian Porter.

Mr Robert moves from government services; Karen Andrews becomes home affairs minister to replace Peter Dutton who takes on defence and Mr Porter’s role as leader of the house; while Mr Porter is moved from attorney-general and industrial relations minister to industry, science and technology minister.

By Neil Dowling

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