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Nationals call for consumers to have right to repair

The Nationals WA have called on the Federal Government to introduce “right to repair” legislation, which would require manufacturers to provide consumers with genuine replacement parts, tools and repair documentation.

Spokesperson for agriculture Colin de Grussa said that big tech companies and manufacturers in the agricultural industry were making it increasingly more difficult for consumers to repair their own devices and machinery.

“Right to repair legislation would give independent repair shops, such as IT companies and mechanics, the same access to genuine parts, tools and information to aid them in the repair process for consumer electronics,” Mr de Grussa said.

“While right to repair legislation would make it easier for people to repair personal devices, such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, it is also vitally important for farmers and workers in the agricultural system.”

Mr de Grussa said modern farming machinery often utilised embedded software to allow the machinery to function.

“As farming equipment has become more hi-tech, the ability to fix software issues in agricultural machinery has become more complex,” he said.

“Major machinery manufacturers such as John Deere now require customers to sign a licence agreement which prevents them, or unauthorised third-parties, from performing software repairs.

“This means that local independent mechanics cannot repair machinery and farmers may have to travel hundreds of kilometres during their busiest periods to access repairs or have to pay high callout fees for authorised repair mechanics.

“The costs to farmers and the loss in productivity for the agriculture sector are significant and consumers are denied the right to utilise local mechanics or technicians.”

Mr de Grussa said right to repair legislation had been introduced in 17 states in the United States and called on the Federal Government to consider similar legislation in Australia.

The motion calling for right to repair legislation to be introduced was put forward by the Esperance Branch of The Nationals WA and was successfully passed at The Nationals State Conference on October 13.

The 2018 National Party State Conference took place in Manjimup from October 12 to 14, with more than 100 members, supporters and observers coming together to debate policy, share ideas, and catch up with State and Federal MPs.