Ag Tech

Parts manufacturers say agriculture needs legal right to repair

Beef Central, 25/01/2023

THE Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) has reaffirmed its support of the agricultural industry’s right to repair fight.

Earlier this month, John Deere announced it had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the American Farm Federation acknowledging that farmers should have the ability to take their equipment to a repairer of their choice to fix the problem or repair the machinery themselves.

“The voluntary MoU between John Deere and the American Farm Federation is an interesting development but, sadly in our experience we know that it simply won’t work,” AAAA CEO Stuart Charity said.

“All our efforts to make a voluntary MoU work in our industry failed, with the ACCC firmly concluding that our industry’s MoU was ineffective. Our view is that real reform in the Agricultural machinery market will not occur without formal legislative intervention.”

Following the John Deere announcement, the National Farmers’ Federation called for similar steps to take place in Australia.

Mr Charity said right to repair needed to become law.

“We support the position that Australian farmers should have the right to use an independent repairer of their choice,” he said.

“In the same way the automotive right to repair law has transformed the automotive industry, an agricultural right to repair law would be a game-changer for farmers. It would also support local industry, with many independent repairers located within the local communities they serve.”

The AAAA, Australia’s peak body for the automotive aftermarket industry led the long-term, successful fight to create an automotive right-to-repair law for independent automotive workshops.

With the support of the Federal Government, and now under the leadership of the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP, the new Commonwealth legislation came into effect from July 2022.

The law requires all car manufacturers to make all repair and service information available to independent repairers on fair and reasonable commercial terms.  Significant penalties now apply if manufacturers withhold repair and service information.  This legislation is the first right to repair legislation in Australia.

No such right-to-repair law exists for the agricultural industry, and the AAAA, on behalf of the independent regional and remote auto repair sector, has been calling for this reform.

“An agricultural right to repair law would allow farmers to have their machinery repaired by their preferred local repairer or make simple repairs on the farm without fear of voiding warranties,” Mr Charity said.

“A right to repair law could significantly reduce costly downtime due to repair and part supply delays, reducing the impact to farming operations.

“Many of the same issues that affect passenger motor vehicle repair apply to agricultural machinery.  In 2021, the ACCC recommended that agricultural machinery should also be subject to legislative mandates that require the machinery manufacturers to make repair and service information, software updates and diagnostic tools available on fair and reasonable terms and we certainly support that recommendation.

“Markets that are constrained by uncompetitive behaviour will always impair innovation and drive up the price of repair and ultimately the consumer pays for that.

“Everyone benefits from fair and open competition.  Local communities, farmers, independent repairers and ultimately consumers. Our independent repairers are skilled and available to repair agricultural machinery, but they are unable to do that if the manufacturers withhold vital repair information and deny access to diagnostic tools and software updates.”

Source: Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association


















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