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Car imports reform: consumers take the wheel

CHOICE welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to let consumers access international new car markets

10 February 2016

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has welcomed the Federal Government's decision to allow personal imports of new cars and motorcycles from overseas markets.
 
"Giving consumers access to the new car markets in places like the UK and Japan increases consumer choice, allowing Australians to purchase models that aren't available in the Australian market," says Matt Levey, CHOICE Director of Campaigns and Communications.
 
"Expanding our access to markets empowers consumers to seek out the best deal, both in price and in product."
 
"While we welcome these reforms, it is frustrating that the government has put the brakes on reforms to second-hand car imports that would have benefited Australians," says Mr Levey.
 
The Federal Government's Competition Policy Review in 2015 recommended removing parallel import restrictions on second-hand cars[1]. Despite this recommendation, the Federal Government will not be pursuing reform changes that would allow consumers to import second-hand cars from overseas markets.
 
"We are disappointed that the Federal Government has wasted this opportunity to make Australia's overall second-hand car market more consumer-friendly," Mr Levey says. 
 
"Being able to access wider markets for new cars is good news for consumers, but there is no reason not to extend these reforms to also cover safe and efficient second-hand cars. We hope that the Federal Government will consider broadening its reforms in the future."
 
[1] See Competition Policy Review, 'Final Report', released 31 March 2015, p. 177:
 
"progressively relaxing restrictions on the importation of second-hand vehicles commences no earlier than 2018, having been preceded by the introduction of a regulatory compliance framework that includes measures to ensure appropriate levels of community safety, environmental performance and consumer protection."

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