Motor vehicle repairer - Motor Traders' Association of NSW

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43 - 51 Brisbane Street (Locked Bag 5012) Darlinghurst NSW 2010                                      The Voice of the
Phone: 02 9213 4222 Facsimile: 02 9212 6889                                                          Motor Industry
ABN: 63 000 008 088

             Occupational Licensing
             C/- The Better Regulation Office
             GPO Box 5431
             SYDNEY NSW 2001
             By Email:

                                                                                     Friday, 28th November 2008

                                      Review into licensing of selected occupations in NSW

             Thank you for providing the Motor Trader’ Association of NSW the opportunity to provide
             comments in relation to the above review. The issue of occupational licensing of “motor vehicle
             repairer” is of interest to Members of the Association due to the high level of licensing for
             automotive technicians

             The Motor Traders’ Association NSW (MTA NSW) is a state based employers Association specifically
             for businesses in the automotive industry. Membership of the MTA NSW covers all business
             activities of the industry and MTA NSW has approximately 5,500 Members and associates.

             Consultation with its Members by the MTA NSW has revealed that there is a high level of concern
             that trade licensing for the automotive industry will be removed. This is consistent with the views
             of Members of the MTA NSW each time this subject is reviewed by Government.

             The Association firmly believes that the benefit to the community of the current system in place far
             outweighs the cost. This benefit can be evaluated against several factors but the Association
             believes that the consumer benefit and confidence in the industry is but one significant benefit that
             is derived from this system.

             Currently it is a breach of the Motor Vehicle Repairs Act 1980 to repair (for reward) a motor vehicle
             unless the business and the individual are certificated. This requirement has an extremely high level
             of identification within the industry and from an employer’s position, this shows that prospective
             employees are suitably qualified to conduct their duties.

             One issue that is of high concern to the industry is “backyarders”. Backyarders are people who
             repair vehicles for reward and have no license to do so. This is quite a concern for the industry as
             consumers have no protection when this occurs. Depending on where the operation is being
             conducted, the consumer may not be aware that the person repairing their vehicle is not licensed
             to do so.

             This also creates other compliance issues such as workers’ compensation, taxation and council
             requirements. If someone is prepared to illegally repair motor vehicles there is no knowing what
             method they will employ to dispose of waste products.
Licensing also restricts those people from operating a business that is not fit and proper.
Consumers can have confidence that criminals that like to steal cars are not able to be licensed.
Rebirthing and motor vehicle theft are problematic enough and by having bans on criminals
operating businesses this builds on trust and confidence that consumers have in the industry.

The fact that all technicians must be certificated provides a high level of confidence by consumers
when having repairs conducted to their vehicle. If licensing was removed as a requirement there
would no doubt be people conducting repairs on vehicles who are not competent to do so. Given
the value of a motor vehicle it is not unreasonable that consumers expect that the work conducted
on their vehicle is by a certificated person.

The review document specifically sought comment on four items and this is provided below.

The benefits to the licensing regime including the protections offered to consumers and impacts on
professional standards in the industry

There is no doubt that consumer protection is greatly enhanced by the current licensing scheme. All
technicians must meet a minimum requirement before being able to work on vehicles. This
prevents an ad hoc review of training by employers before employing personnel. The current
certificate is recognised by the industry as the minimum requirement before repairing a motor
vehicle. In effect, each person is independently evaluated against set criteria.

Being readily recognised by industry, technicians value the trade certificate as a statement to their
achievement. A technician is proud to have their “ticket” and it is a readily identified item that
states the person has reached a minimum achievement.

The costs of the licensing regime including compliance costs for industry impacts on labour mobility
and competition between service providers

The cost to the industry is relatively low considering the benefit derived. The industry does not
consider the fee to be a major restriction.

Existing or potential alternative ways to protect the interest of consumers

The current licensing system in NSW protects consumers by ensuring that only businesses and
people that have satisfied the requirements for a license are working on their vehicles.

Consumers can also readily access the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal when dealing with a
licensed business.

In NSW a consumer can also make application to the compensation fund if required. This fund is
available where a licensed repairer is unable to meet their obligations. This offers consumers a high
level of protection and whilst many probably don’t know that the fund exists, this is a protection
that would be difficult to replicate should licensing be dismantled.
Whether there are any reasons why it is necessary to license this occupation in NSW when it is not
considered it necessary to license it in other States.

How the other states view this issue is irrelevant. It is an indisputable fact that licensing mechanical
repairers in NSW has provided benefits far and above any dollar cost that may be put on it.

The industry overwhelmingly supports the current system in NSW and to put the industry back 30
years because other jurisdictions don’t have it is not desirable.

The system in NSW has allowed the industry to ensure that work conducted on consumer’s vehicles
is conducted in a manner that is expected.

Licensing allows business to confidently invest in both the business and its employees. Business
owners have no issue with fair competition and there is no doubt that if licensing were to be
removed that many people calling themselves “vehicle repairers” would commence operating with
little or no concern for consumers.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this review. If further information is required please
don’t hesitate to contact me

Kind Regards,

David Smith
Senior Manager – Divisional Services
Motor Traders’ Association of NSW

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