THE owner of a motor vehicle restoration company based in Bellevue says licensing requirements should be overhauled, saying it does little to protect consumers or the industry.
Earlier this month in the Midland Magistrates Court, Blue Dog Garage owner Clint Godde was ordered to pay costs of $932 for breaching the Motor Vehicle Repairers Act by operating without a Motor Vehicle Repairers Board licence.
Mr Godde said his problems started in 2016 when he was advised he needed a licence to operate his workshop.
He said the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) had treated him poorly after he queried the value of the licensing system.
“I was told I needed to fill out the licensing paperwork and pay a fee of several thousand dollars,” he said.
“Naturally I wanted to know what I got for such a large fee, to which I was told “Well you get licensed”.
“It is concerning that DMIRS does not actually visit applying businesses to gauge quality of work, actual employment of stated participants or do any other checks other than the paperwork assigned to the payment to grant a licence.
“I am in disbelief that DMIRS would simply hand out a licence without actually checking a claimant could carry out the profession they are touting.
“The system does not protect consumers, it does not weed out inappropriate vendors and it certainly does not provide value for money.”
A DMIRS spokesman said licence applicants had to prove they were fit, proper and appropriately skilled people to hold a licence.
“This involves providing a National Police Certificate and outlining their qualifications and experience in their particular class of repair work, with supporting evidence,” he said.
“Consumer Protection has an ongoing proactive compliance program, where businesses are visited unannounced and their premises and records inspected to ensure they are complying with all aspects of the legislation.”
So far this financial year staff have inspected 132 licensed motor vehicle repair businesses of which there are 4572 licensed in WA.
In 2016/17, staff inspected 236 licensed repair businesses.
Motor Trades Association chief executive Stephen Moir said the organisation had lobbied to have the licence introduced to clean up the sector, however there were ongoing issues and concerns from members of the industry.
“Mr Godde’s point that the department doesn’t check the quality of a workplace prior to issuing a license is a valid point,” he said.
“However the resources required to check all businesses prior to licensing would make the cost of licenses very expensive.
“What is more pressing is that the MTA feel the department places unnecessary attention on businesses that are already compliant under the Act.
“We’d like to see more visits to unlicensed repairers carried out because there is still a large group of people who are operating illegally.
“There needs to be greater resourcing and a greater focus on targeting backyard operators which carries the biggest risk to consumers.”