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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2289 ..


MR RATTENBURY: The Tuggeranong Repair Cafe is a real success. I met the organisers of it recently, and they were very excited about the fact that they now have to take bookings because so many people want to come along. It speaks to a growing community enthusiasm for the ability to repair goods.

The notion of a right to repair is one that has emerged out of Europe and the US in different ways. It speaks to the idea that you should be able to take your good to get it repaired, to get the spare parts for it, to be able to do that at an affordable cost and without breaching your warranty. These are the sort of issues that have arisen in this space.

The ACT government has particularly promoted this issue. We took a proposal to the Consumer Affairs Forum of ministers from Australia and New Zealand a couple of years ago, and that has led to the Productivity Commission report which is currently in progress. Members may have seen that the Productivity Commission have released their draft report. That was open for consultation until last week. They will produce a final report later this year.

This is really important in terms of empowering consumers to be able to keep their products for as long as they want, to tinker with them, to improve them and, ultimately, as Mr Davis alluded to in his question, to minimise the amount of e-waste. Australia particularly is an incredibly large producer of e-waste, and being able to repair basic products like your phone and various other devices is both good for the consumer and good for the planet.

MR DAVIS: Minister, what can the ACT government do to continue to lead the nation on the right to repair?

MR RATTENBURY: There are a couple of things. One is that we are continuing to advocate for this issue. It is really important that it is given a national voice because, as a jurisdiction alone, we cannot bring in a national right to repair. We need to get the other consumer affairs ministers on board and probably the national Treasurer. Through the support of the Productivity Commission’s report, we can make the case that in Australia there is a market failing here, and we need governments to step in and put requirements onto producers to produce goods that can be repaired, to supply the spare parts and the like.

I was very interested to see that in the Productivity Commission’s draft report they canvassed the idea of coming up with alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including a binding conciliation power. Members may recall that the ACT Assembly passed legislation to that effect towards the end of the last term. That legislation is about to come into effect. Access Canberra will have the ability to compel a business to come to the table with a consumer to resolve consumer matters under $5,000. We are very pleased to see that South Australia have already done it; now the ACT have picked up some of the recommendations from the Productivity Commission.

I think this helps empower consumers and give them confidence that, even if they have sought a repair, this does not necessarily void the warranty. There are a lot of


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