Relief For Queensland’s Automotive Sector After Government Shelves Controversial EV Work Proposal

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), and Queensland’s professional automotive service and repair workshops have welcomed a Queensland Government decision to reject a proposal that would have had a catastrophic impact on the state’s automotive service and repair sector.

Under the proposal, tabled in 2023, the Queensland Electrical Safety Office put forward a recommendation that only licenced electricians carry out work on electric vehicles, as part of the Electrical Safety Act review.

The AAAA, the peak body for the automotive aftermarket industry strongly opposed the recommendation, working with workshops in Queensland and communicating with Government on how the proposed changes would negatively impact consumers and independent workshops.

After consideration, the Queensland Government determined that the recommendation would not be implemented as proposed, with the response providing more certainty given the immense confusion and concern created in the broader automotive industry. 

Moving forward a roundtable will be formed with Commonwealth and other jurisdictions to consider electrical safety in the context of Electric Vehicles. The AAAA welcomes the commitment to engage with National groups in particular given the importance of this topic to the industry.   

“Thankfully, common sense has prevailed, and Queensland workshops and consumers can be assured that this proposal will not go ahead,” said Stuart Charity, CEO of the AAAA.

“Requiring electricians to work on EVs is not practical. Such a regulation would lead to increased costs for businesses, increased servicing costs for consumers, longer wait times for service appointments, and as an unintended consequence some EV owners could unwisely and dangerously attempt to do servicing work on electric vehicles themselves.”

“We would like to congratulate to the Minister for Industrial Relations The Hon Grace Grace MP for her confidence in the professionalism of qualified automotive light vehicle technicians,” said Stuart.

The AAAA continues to advocate that the automotive service and repair industry is properly trained to service and repair EVs.

“We are a responsible industry, with sound occupational health and safety practices. Many light vehicle technicians have already completed EV safety training and our research indicates that the majority of the sector will have completed this training in the next three to five years. Around 10% of the sector already has advanced proficiency in EV repair and as EV and Hybrid vehicle sales increase over the coming years the vast majority will be EV trained.”

Training for automotive technicians on how to safely work with EVs is available and being implemented by national automotive banner groups, vehicle manufacturers, dealerships, TAFE Colleges and Registered Training Organisations across the country. EV training of automotive technicians is also a legislative requirement of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme Act 2021.

AAAA’s Director of Government Relations & Advocacy Ms Lesley Yates said, “There is a national framework in place: the Australian Automotive Repair and Service Authority (AASRA) provides a valuable service validating the EV certification of technicians. This is a national program established as a result of Federal Legislation. We were very concerned at the prospect that Queensland could potentially ignore the landmark national agreements that are already in place. 

“There are real dangers posed by State Governments seeking to implement state specific regulations for service and repair, especially when these changes have been proposed by bodies that have little exposure or knowledge of the automotive industry,’ said Lesley.

As well as small independent workshops, the AAAA represents larger national banner groups, including Jax Tyres & Auto, Ultra Tune, mycar Tyre & Auto, Repco Authorised Service and many others. Potential state specific regulations disproportionately affect the national chains because their national workforce are subject to different regulations preventing the easy movement of staff across state borders.

“There are already anomalies in NSW, with regulations in that state that vary from national practice. We are very concerned about the prospect of more state-by-state unilateral decisions that impact the service and repair industry,” said Lesley.

Stuart Charity said, “This is an evolving sector, and our industry has always been able to adapt to changes in technology, and our proficiency is often well ahead of the curve. We are confident that our industry will be trained and qualified well before EVs are in large numbers on our roads.

“AAAA remains committed to continue working alongside the Queensland Government and other key stakeholders to ensure that all Queenslanders continue to have access to a safe and skilled automotive service and repair industry.”  

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