What Should We Do With Our Political Footprint?

There are 163 workshops per federal electorate, servicing about 336 households and about 734 vehicles.

For our sector in auto service and repair workshops alone – in every federal electorate on any given day we are providing services to thousands of voters – that equates nationally to about 40,000 households at a cost of nearly $12 million per day.

These numbers matter because they represent our ‘political footprint’ which provides every Member of Parliament seeking re-election, a window into our value.

Our voice is important both as employing businesses, but even more so because we are a constituent-facing service provider – we are speaking with voters every day and they trust us; our trust score is the envy of every politician at 78 percent.

During our last interaction on a government level, where we asked MPs to engage with our industry, I think everyone was surprised at the high volume of official visits to workshops we got. This highlights that we should never underplay our importance, after all we have a good story to tell. It is so obvious on reflection – of course an MP wants to know the local businesses and they want to hear what’s of concern and how they can help.

We have learnt that an MP engagement strategy works. Our recent calculation of how many workshops an MP represents in federal parliament is a reminder to us that we have considerable political muscle which we can exercise when we want to be effective, and when we have a common unified message to convey.

Why is our influence with government important? Well, we know our next big issues are about gearing up for EVs and addressing our workforce shortages. When we have a consistent message for how we want government to react to these issues, it will be time to start the process of re-engaging with local MPs again. It worked last time for mandatory data sharing because we all reached out at the same time, we had the same visit template, and everyone stayed on message explaining what was broken and what we wanted as a solution.

The challenge for us at this point in time is to put in the hard work on what we want government to do in response to our current issues and design a solution we can promote, and they can get on board.

The lesson is that we have the footprint, and we know how to use it.

Lesley Yates,
AAAA Director of Government Relations and Advocacy

This article was originally published in the November Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine.

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