New insurance code of conduct gives choice of repairs

CAR owners in regional areas could soon be able to get their cars serviced and repaired at their preferred shop, rather than being forced to go to a dealership, under a proposed code of conduct.

The code would allow independent repairers to access the data from car manufacturers they need to do repairs.

Many modern cars have detailed data and computers, the information for which can only be accessed through dealerships.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said negotiations between the repair industry and car manufacturers would start immediately, with a report to government by mid-year.

"It is a source of great frustration for consumers when they take their car to an independent repairer only to find they cannot complete a service, not because they lack the skills or equipment, but because they cannot access the required data and technical information," he said.

"This means that consumers are often left with no other choice than to take their car to the nearest dealership.

"This can prove particularly difficult for consumers in remote and regional areas, where the nearest dealership may be hours away."

The negotiations will be led by the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council.