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THE New South Wales government has proposed sweeping changes to its licensing rules that will relax some previously onerous and unnecessary regulations to directly benefit automotive dealers and repairers.

NSW minister for innovation and better regulation, Matt Kean, said he will introduce the Better Business Reforms package into parliament later this month and claims it would save automotive small businesses about $175 million over 10 years.

He said it would also stop businesses “from going bust” around NSW and would save regional jobs.

“I was alarmed to hear that dozens of motor vehicle dealers and repairers in NSW have folded because they simply can’t get workers under the current qualification requirements,” Mr Kean said in a statement.

“At the moment, even if you only do wheel alignments, you also need to be qualified to change an engine. It is madness – and maddening for our regional motor vehicle repairers.

“That’s why we’re introducing specialised licensing, which will require workers to only be trained in the tasks they actually do.”

The Better Business Reforms package will also be used to stop:

  • inconvenient laws that stop motor dealers selling cars at car trade shows
  • regulations that force businesses to spend months waiting for court orders
  • allowing them to get rid of abandoned goods and cars
  • outdated laws that require motor vehicle dealers to get multiple dealership licences when they could just have one licence.

Mr Kean said that small business owners had told him that it costs huge amounts of time and money to get rid of uncollected goods like abandoned cars.

“You also know that regulation has gone wild when you can’t buy a car at a car show,” he said.

The Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) said: “It is great to see some common sense from the NSW Government.”

AADA CEO David Blackhall said it will ease the burden on its members.

“The proposed legislation will simplify licensing requirements for workers in new-car dealerships, as well as improve the flexibility in trading, all of which will reduce red-tape from new-car dealership operations,” he said.

The Motor Traders’ Association of NSW senior divisional manager, Gary O’Sullivan, said: “This is the best example of red tape reduction I’ve seen in decades.

“These reforms will create jobs and help our members and small business keep their doors open,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber congratulated the NSW government on the measures.

“Modern businesses require flexibility to thrive in the ever-changing automotive industry landscape,” Mr Weber said.

“As the industry adapts to new technologies and changing consumer preferences, it is essential that regulatory environments keep pace with these developments.

“Sectors cannot regulate their way to prosperity, and the changes announced by Minister Kean will enable innovative and agile businesses to thrive in the modern economy and ultimately benefit consumers in the long run.”

By Neil Dowling