The Mechanic Shop's Mark Billingsley.
The Mechanic Shop's Mark Billingsley. Allan Reinikka ROK120618amechani

Pollies lobby for Central Queensland independent mechanics

LABOR politicians are calling for a policy for independent mechanics to access the same data authorised dealers can use.

Labor candidate for Capricornia, Russell Robertson, joined Labor Senator for Queensland Murray Watt and Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh in Rockhampton.

The proposed policy looks at sharing mechanical computer data with independent mechanics.

Usually, this data is held by authorised dealers and independent mechanics can't access it.

In some cases, independent mechanics have the option to pay thousands of dollars for the data.

Mr Leigh said Labor had first identified this issue over a year ago, stating "independent mechanics don't have the data they need to fix modern cars”.

"Modern cars are computers on wheels,” he said, "They can have 20 to 50 on board computers and without those reinitialisation codes and software updates, independent mechanics are struggling to fix modern cars.”

Across Rockhampton, Mr Leigh said there are 70 independent mechanics with less than 10 authorised dealers.

"A Shorten Labor Government would put in place a mandatory data sharing policy,” he said.

"We should have a level playing field.

"Independent mechanics should get the same data authorised dealers can.

"It's good for drivers, good for mechanics.”

Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, Senator Murray Watt and Labor candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson.
Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh, Senator Murray Watt and Labor candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson. Allan Reinikka ROK120618amechani

Senator Watt said the policy would not only benefit consumers and mechanics in Rockhampton but it will have wider benefits across Central Queensland.

He said there are very few towns in Central Queensland that have an authorised dealer and if a customer has a new car, they don't have the option of getting their car serviced in their local town.

"They have to travel to Rockhampton or Emerald so it will be bigger benefit for smaller towns,” Sen Watt said.

Senator Watts said data sharing will give small businesses the opportunity to grow and employ more mechanics as well as giving motorists more choice.

Repco Authorised Service Regional manager Mark Billingsley represented The Mechanic Shop in Farm St, where the politicians gathered to review their data equipment.

Mr Billingsley said the policy would be a great step forward for the little guys.

"Independent mechanical workshops make up the vast majority of workshops across the country, we employ the most amount of apprentices,” he said.

"Traditionally it is the mum and dad type business.

"The technical problems we are associating with cars today, the computerised systems, some cars require special scan details and some very detailed information on how to repair and service them.”

The data can include anything from wiring diagrams, flow charts, diagnostics and computer upgrades mostly around vehicle security and safety.

The continuing data also requires ongoing training for mechanics.

"We have independent trainers, we are generally up to speed with the latest vehicles, it is just getting the fine data to some of those small or major problems,” Mr Billingsley said.

"There is new systems, telematics, cars talking to satellite.”



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