Changes to motor industry laws

Information on changes to motor dealer, repairer and recycler laws.

You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to Auto Torque, our e-newsletter for the motor vehicle industry.

Motor Dealers and Repairers Act

The Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 was developed following a full-scale review of the motor industry legislation and extensive consultation with industry and other stakeholders. The Act replaces the Motor Dealers Act 1974 and the Motor Vehicle Repairs Act 1980. The Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 was approved by Parliament in November 2013 and commenced on 1 December 2014.

The laws support consumer protection, reduce red tape and simplify and modernise regulation of the motor vehicle industry in NSW.

A brief and simple summary of the important provisions in the legislation is provided below.

What this means for industry


Changes have been made to the licensing arrangements for motor dealers, motor vehicle recyclers and motor vehicle repairers. These include:

  • a simplified business licensing system. The current six motor dealer and sixteen motor vehicle repair business licence types have been consolidated into three licence types: motor dealer, motor vehicle recycler and motor vehicle repairer
  • the option of a three year licence, providing savings in time and money for businesses protecting the reputation of the industry by strengthening the requirements that licence holders and close associates must be `fit and proper´ persons
  • an online register of licence holders which will be available on the Fair Trading website. The register will make it easier to identify unlicensed businesses operating in the industry
  • all licensees will be required to keep records in a prescribed format
  • businesses that do certain work restricted to the installation or replacement of accessories that do not affect the safety or performance of a vehicle, will no longer need to hold a licence to do that work; these businesses will continue to have obligations to consumers under the Australian Consumer Law.

Tradesperson's certificates

Changes to tradesperson certification include:

  • tradesperson certificates need to be renewed every three years so that there is an accurate and up to date record of who is working in the industry.
  • the minimum qualification requirements for new tradespeople entering the industry has been upgraded to a Certificate III qualification delivered by a registered training organisation. However, from 1 September 2020 a Certificate II qualification will be an option for certain classes of repair work.
  • the classes of repair work for tradesperson certificates have been updated and consolidated
  • certain work involved with the installation or replacement of accessories that do not affect safety or performance of a vehicle will no longer require a tradesperson certificate.

Dealer dispute resolution

The Dispute resolution mechanism for motor dealers in dispute with vehicle suppliers or manufacturers about unjust conduct or unfair contract terms have been changed Motor dealers will need to make a complaint initially to the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner and if a resolution cannot be reached by mediation, the matter can be referred to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a determination.

Other reforms

These include:

  • prescribed forms and registers (including parts) have been updated and consolidated new licence display and signage requirements have been introduced
  • existing licensees are required to meet new record keeping, licence display and signage requirements.

What this means for consumers

Repair work on motor vehicles

Where repair work is carried out from 1 December 2014:

  • trade qualified Fair Trading inspectors will be able to issue rectification orders to resolve disputes between consumers and traders about repair work on a vehicle that is incomplete or defective, or if a dealer guarantee has not been met
  • rectification orders are enforceable and will be able to be used as evidence before a court or tribunal.

Failure to follow an order can result in disciplinary action being taken by Fair Trading against a licensed business.

Compensation fund

The Motor Dealers and Repairers Compensation Fund protects consumers when they have been left out of pocket because a repairer or dealer has done the wrong thing. If all attempts to get money from the repairer or dealer have been unsuccessful, the consumer can make a claim on the fund. The maximum compensation payable is $40,000.

Disclosure when buying a car

Improved disclosure provisions include:

  • it is mandatory for motor dealers to disclose to consumers information that might affect a consumer's decision to buy a car or to buy a car at a certain price
  • this includes information about any major modifications to a vehicle, past flood or hail damage, whether a vehicle has previously been written-off and whether there is any suspicion of odometer tampering
  • dealers are required to disclose this information in the dealer notice that is attached to the vehicle being sold
  • the Act provides substantial penalties for a motor dealer who fails to disclose important information to consumers about a vehicle they are looking to purchase.

Other reforms

Greater consumer protection provisions have been included:

  • statutory warranty provisions for vehicle sales have been modernised and updated to be more consistent with consumer guarantees under the national Australian Consumer Law
  • penalties for odometer tampering has doubled to $22,000
  • motor dealers who intend to sell vehicles by consignment will be required to advise Fair Trading on their licence application
  • an online 'licence check' facility has been established on the Fair Trading website which will include information for each licensee about their licence, including any disciplinary action or offences recorded against the licensee.

Motor Dealers and Repairers Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2020

The Motor Dealers and Repairers Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2020 (the Amending Regulation) began on 12 June 2020.

The Amending Regulation contains changes designed to improve the information available to consumers and improve consumer safety. The amendments include:

  • clarifying that dealers, repairers and recyclers regulated by the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 are required to hold a licence if their business involves written-off light vehicles, on the NSW register or interstate vehicles.
  • introducing additional signage requirements for interstate dealers exhibiting at trade shows.
  • changing the term an ‘approved’ trade show to a ‘declared’ trade show to make it clearer that the exemption is for interstate dealers to exhibit at trade shows and not that the trade show itself is approved.

Motor Dealers and Repairers Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2017

The Motor Dealers and Repairers Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2017 (the Amending Regulation) began on 29 September 2017.

The Amending Regulation contains a number of practical changes designed to improve consumer outcomes and reduce the administrative burden, and increase productivity in the motor repair industry. The amendments include:

  • expanding on tasks that are not classified as repair work to include ‘low risk, low scope’ work that does not alter the performance, handling or safety of the vehicle
  • dealer guarantees do not include any period in which the dealer has possession of the vehicle to assess defects or carry out repairs
  • introducing a form 3A for the acquisition or disposal of a whole motor vehicle for a recycler
  • improving the design of forms in Schedule 2 allowing for several offences under the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 to be dealt with by issuing a penalty notice.
Prev Building product safety laws
Next Changes to association incorporation laws