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MORE than 3200 Victorian dealership jobs are in the balance as the majority of car dealers have failed the JobKeeper 2.0 eligibility, the state’s peak industry body said.

The shock has sparked the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) and the Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) to urgently seek government modification to the eligibility requirements.

VACC industry policy advisor Mick McKenna today told GoAutoNews Premium that after interim meetings with government advisors and the chief executive of the National COVID-19 Commission, Peter Harris, there was optimism that the eligibility could change.

He said that at the moment, the issue was “grim”.

A VACC survey released today revealed 82.7 per cent of Victorian dealers were ineligible and that staff losses in the new-car sector alone will amount to 23 per cent of the payroll.

“These are dealer-specific jobs only,” Mr McKenna said.

“This does not include the flow down to the Victorian aftermarket which relies on the health of dealers.

“It also does not include motorcycle, truck and farm machinery dealers who are in a similar situation.”

The VACC said 82.8 per cent of survey respondents, representing 529 dealerships, would not qualify for JobKeeper 2.0 under the current eligibility requirements.

Further, it said:

  • The 24.9 per cent drop (with JobKeeper not being available to most dealerships from September – December) will see an estimated 3285 jobs lost at Victorian car dealerships for the period February – December 2020
  • From March – September, 1226 Victorian employees were either lost, made redundant, or not replaced
  • From September 28 – December 28 (with no JobKeeper) it is estimated that a further 1847 jobs will be lost to the Victorian dealership sector

Note these are dealer-specific jobs only. This does not include the flow down to the Victorian aftermarket which relies on the health of dealers.

The VACC offers the following information to its members:

  1. No dealership showrooms or parts department on-site operation. On-line , contactless is ok to fulfill on-line orders.
  2. Service departments  at franchise dealer and independent mechanics etc  can remain open for the service /repair of vehicles or parts supply for vehicles from customers who are a permitted service
  3. Service departments can remain open for repair of vehicle under the auspices of maintaining the health and safety of Victorians at home or work? ( a less complicated definition would be appreciated )
  4. Repair by exception is ok
  5. Point 3 & 4 we take to mean safety issue that must be fixed
  6. What happens with new cars that are due for delivery to consumers after Wednesday.

What we need from the Government to advise industry as a matter of urgency is :

  1. Can a dealer service division /independent mechanic still do a scheduled retail, general/logbook  services?
  2. Can a dealer service division /independent mechanic advise their customer base that they are open for service?
  3. Can a dealer service division continue to do recall work?
  4. Can a consumer, who lives more than 5kms from the dealership bring their vehicle to that dealer / business? Or if a customer is more than 5 km away from business can the dealer collect the car?
  5. What happens with new cars that are due for delivery to consumers after Wednesday?
  6. Interstate or regional Victoria deliveries of cars and/or parts. Direction on process.

By Neil Dowling

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