Changes to Fair Trading laws surrounding motor vehicle repair in New South Wales have been delayed, despite a committee recommending urgent action.
The committee was formed earlier this year, following allegations that major insurance companies were pressuring repairers to ‘cut corners’ in order to keep repair costs down for vehicles damaged in collisions.
A list of 21 recommendations from the committee was put to NSW Fair Trading Minister, Mathew Mason-Cox, with a view to protecting consumers against substandard repairs to their vehicles.
But the minister has revealed he wishes to consult with the industry for a further six months before introducing new legislation into parliament, as part of re-consultation processes following the committee’s report.
The minister also promised to accelerate the process, where possible, and the second round of consultation has been met with approval from the Insurance Council.
The committee consisted of members from both sides of the chamber in NSW parliament, and Nationals MP Ray Williams and Labor MP Tania Mihailuk (both committee members) have expressed concern over the delays.
"Lives are being placed at risk, and the committee firmly established that," Mr Williams said, speaking with the ABC.
"I believe our government has a responsibility, indeed I believe the onus, at this point in time to ensure the highest standards are maintained and that every vehicle that is repaired is returned to our road in a roadworthy condition.”
Ms Mihailuk said the delays were worrying, and that the committee’s recommendations regarding safety issues were “very clear”.
Proposed changes include revised fines for beaching regulations, a public ‘name and shame’ register for repairers who are caught out and the reintroduction of licences for vehicle repair assessors.
The committee also recommended that the issue stretch beyond repairers and insurers in NSW, calling for the Federal Government to implement a national standard.