THE NSW parliament has passed the Motor Dealers and Repairers Amendment Bill 2023, regarded as a significant milestone for the state’s motoring industry.
The new act will improve the provision for online sales of vehicles, including used vehicles, cease the practice of cash transactions for end-of-life vehicles, and increase penalties for operating without a licence.
It will also allow for the secretary to approve new qualifications in the automotive sector, promoting skill development and innovation.
This bill will amend the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2014, an amendment regarded by the Motor Traders’ Association of NSW (MTA NSW) as being long overdue since consultation originally began in 2020.
MTA NSW CEO Stavros Yallouridis said that the delay in amending the act was attributed to various factors, including the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state election.
“MTA NSW has been steadfast in its commitment to representing the interests of the motoring industry,” he said.
“This has been achieved through our work on multiple submissions, conversations and engaging with members of parliament including the minister, the shadow minister and members of the cross bench.
“The unanimous support in the NSW parliament underscores MTA NSW’s position as the leading organisation for the motoring industry in the state.
“MTA NSW extends its thanks to the minister, the shadow minister and members of the cross-bench for their consultative approach and dedication to working alongside industry stakeholders.”
In the NSW parliament debate on the issue prior to the bill being passed, Warren Kirby MLA said it was a much-needed reform that “will propel the automotive industry into the twenty‑first century by aligning our laws with the current realities of the market.”
“The Motor Dealers and Repairers Amendment Bill 2023 is a critical piece of legislation that addresses the longstanding need for reform in the automotive sector and will benefit my electorate and the State as a whole. It is for these reasons that I strongly support the bill,” he said.
MP and former mayor of Parramatta, Julia Finn, said industry stakeholders have for three years been awaiting legislative reforms that will bring the automotive sector into the twenty-first century and strengthen consumer protections.
“The automotive industry has a pivotal role in NSW and the sector is the largest in Australia, boasting a total value exceeding $37 billion,” she said.
“NSW leads the nation in new vehicle purchases, with a staggering 31 per cent of the one million purchases made nationwide originating from our state. This puts us ahead of Victoria and Queensland, which respectively account for 26 per cent and 22 per cent of new vehicle purchases.
“According to the Australian Automotive Dealer Association, which represents franchised new car dealers across the nation, NSW is home to 971 franchised new car dealerships, which employ over 19,000 hardworking people and contribute a total of $4.63 billion to our state economy.
“The industry serves as a cornerstone of employment and plays a crucial role in the wellbeing of our constituents, as most individuals inevitably engage in purchasing and maintaining motor vehicles during their lifetime.
“The NSW government anticipates a significant uptick in the volume of vehicles being bought and sold. In light of this, it is imperative that we implement the review’s recommendations to ensure that our state’s dealerships remain well positioned to meet the burgeoning demand for vehicles within our communities.
“The Motor Dealers and Repairers Amendment Bill is a definite step in the right direction, and I welcome the work done by the minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading in implementing the recommendations of the statutory review.
“The minister worked closely with the Motor Traders’ Association of New South Wales, the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers, the Caravan Industry Association, the Australian Automotive Dealer Association, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the Insurance Council of Australia and Legal Aid NSW to consider their suggestions for ensuring that the motor industry in NSW remains a fair and thriving part of our economy.”
Mr Yallouridis said that while the passage of the Motor Dealers and Repairers Amendment Bill through the NSW parliament was a significant achievement “it marks the beginning, not the end, of a comprehensive process, including a review of the regulations.”
“MTA NSW looks forward to collaborating with the minister and the government to amend the regulations,” he said.
“The industry still requires certainty that the regulations provide, and MTA NSW is committed to ensuring that these regulations align with the needs and expectations of both businesses and consumers.
“MTA NSW remains optimistic about the continued success of the act and its positive impact on the motoring industry in NSW.”
By Neil Dowling