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Industry Welcomes Consumer Protection Against Personal Import of New Vehicles

Australia’s peak motor industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has warmly welcomed an announcement by the Government not to proceed with the personal importation of new vehicles due to consumer protection issues.

The Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, today announced plans to modernise and strengthen the laws governing motor vehicles when first supplied to the Australian market and to harmonise with international standards.

The Government stated that it has “decided not to proceed with one element of change proposed earlier which would have allowed personal importation of new motor vehicles from the United Kingdom or Japan”.

It had weighed up the “modest benefits of personal import arrangements” and concluded that “the benefits do not justify the cost and complexity of this particular change”.

A main issue of concern raised by the Government with personal imports was the lack of protection for consumers; one element among the many which have greatly concerned the motor industry.

The Chief Executive of the FCAI, Tony Weber, described this as a win both for consumers and for the industry.

“The industry has long held the view that personal imports are not in the interest of consumers, nor of the 236,000 people who are either directly or indirectly employed in the Australian motor industry,” Mr Weber said.

“Australia already has one of the most competitive motor vehicle markets in the world, delivering world quality vehicles and outstanding value for the consumer.

“To allow personal imports would have exposed consumers to enormous risks, which the Government’s own analysis has clearly identified.”

The Government also announced a significant regulatory changes to the concessional scheme under which unique, specialist and enthusiast vehicles can be imported to Australia.

The changes have introduced six categories of eligibility including performance, environmental performance, mobility, rarity, left-hand drive, and campervans and motorhomes.

The FCAI believes that on the surface while there is merit in these changes, it is keen to work through the detail with the Government on elements of the revised scheme to ensure the necessary consumer protections are in place.

“The broad picture offered by the Government in its statement is one which now provides legislative certainty and clarity and most importantly, better protection for Australian consumers,” Mr Weber added.