Right to repair win for farmers

The state’s peak agricultural body has welcomed a common sense decision to open up the market for repairs on expensive farm machinery.

NSW Farmers Business, Economics and Trade Committee member Andrew Martel said it was a win after an 18-month process with the ACCC and the Productivity Commission.

“Farm machinery in particular can be very expensive and getting an ‘authorised repairer’ out to a remote property to fix something can also be very expensive – farmers should be able to choose to use a qualified local or do repairs and maintenance work themselves if they’re qualified,” Mr Martel said.

“We saw the same sort of thing done for cars a number of years ago and that’s worked really well – if you’re a qualified mechanic you can fix any car, hopefully this will mean the same for big farm machinery too.

“It’s great to have these issues highlighted and looked at, and now it’s up to the Commonwealth to drive the change.”

At the moment, farmers are locked in to getting services and repairs done only by authorised dealers and agents, adding extra costs to the farm business. Mr Martel said he understood why that system had come about, but it wasn’t the best way forward for Australia.

“Every year you’re seeing a significant reduction of dealer networks across regional areas, and there’s a common view that we need qualified mechanics to make non-critical repairs without voiding warranties,” Mr Martel said.

“Farmers know the value of their machinery and the business impacts when these are not operational – a more open and competitive after-sales market outcome is critical.

“The importance of access to machinery diagnostics, codes, schematics, and parts to enable increased access to local, third-party repairers to enable faster, more convenient and affordable repairs, particularly where they are minor, is essential.”

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