Lack of industry consultation disappointing

The Victorian State Government’s lack of industry consultation, and the consequent confusion surrounding business guidelines, during Melbourne’s Stage 4 restrictions, has been criticised by Victoria’s peak automotive body, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC).

Overnight, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released further permitted workplace information, confirming the Chamber’s advice to members as correct. However, DHHS documentation lacks clarity and sound advice as to what the automotive industry is permitted to do under lockdown restrictions. This is simply not good enough when the livelihoods of Victorians are on the line.

“VACC seeks clarification on several points, specifically: Is logbook servicing allowed? Can faulty Takata airbags continue to be replaced? What constitutes ‘safety to Victorians at home or at work’? Surely the roadworthiness of vehicles is a crucial safety aspect and, therefore, regular servicing, having windscreen cracks repaired and worn tyres replaced constitutes ‘safety’,” said Mr Gwilym.

“VACC is disappointed that the State Government has not consulted the automotive industry during the process. The provided wording is ambiguous and VACC is seeking emergency clarification around the points of the Stage 4 lockdown, as they relate to the automotive industry.”

Lack of industry consultation has been particularly galling.

“VACC has been around for over 100 years, we have more than 5000 members that sell, repair and service vehicles. Nobody is talking to us. Nobody is talking to the automotive industry in Victoria,” said Mr Gwilym.

The result is wide-spread confusion across the automotive industry, with the Chamber working hard to address member queries.

“VACC is supportive of government measures to protect the health and well-being of Victorians, but business is suffering greatly and assistance in the form of clarification would greatly help thousands of automotive businesses remain viable and keep their 111,600 employees employed,” said Mr Gwilym.

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