Talks on right to repair ‘well advanced’ with possibility of MoU between brands and farmers
Farm machinery industry discussions are “well advanced” in securing a historic “right to repair” agreement that aims to allow farmers to fix machinery independent of an authorised dealer.
Talks between the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia and the National Farmers’ Federation began in January following a landmark agreement in the US between John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
TMA executive director Gary Northover said the organisation was brokering an agreement on behalf of “all the major brands” with NFF, with negotiations focused on embedding safeguards into a memorandum of understanding around the right to repair and modify machinery.
Mr Northover said the TMA’s position was supportive of a farmer’s right to repair their own machines, as well as the possibility of third party repairers being involved in the process, but “we don’t support the right to modify”.
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NFF president David Jochinke said the organisation firmly believed that when a farmer buys equipment, they own the whole piece of equipment from the tyres to the technology, “so they should be able to take their equipment to a dealer of their choice or repair the machine themselves”.
Mr Northover said the issues were not only important to farmers, but also TMA members.
“We are seeking to support our customers and farmers the best we can in being able to repair their equipment and maintain their productivity during harvest,” he said.
While talks are ongoing with the TMA, the NFF continues to have conversations with government about possible regulatory options if an MoU isn’t possible.
In 2021, the Productivity Commission recommended the Government introduce a repair supplies obligation for agricultural machinery to be in place by the end of 2022.
Assistant Minister for Competition Andrew Leigh said the Government campaigned hard for the introduction of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme because it strongly supported consumers’ freedom to have their goods serviced by the repairer of their choice.
“It is a scheme that is good for consumers and good for competition,” Mr Leigh said.
“The Australian Government is conscious that the issue of right to repair is particularly important for farmers and other owners of agricultural machinery.
“We are monitoring the progress of these discussions and would welcome a scheme put together by the industry that improves access to data and repair services.”
Mr Leigh said the Government would continue to engage with stakeholders and give due consideration to whether the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme should be expanded.
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