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US right to repair for farm machinery could disadvantage Aussie growers

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) said an agreement struck in the US allowing farmers the right to repair their own farm equipment will place Aussie producers at a disadvantage unless similar steps are taken here.

The right to repair allows farmers to take their equipment to a dealer of their choice to fix a problem or repair the machine themselves.

John Deere has announced this week it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Farm Bureau Federation, guaranteeing farmers the right to repair John Deere equipment.

“For years we’ve been calling for Australian farmers to have the right to repair their agricultural machinery,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.

“Farmers are small business owners who should have the same right as anyone else to have their machinery repaired by their preferred repairer or make small repairs on farm without fear of voiding warranties and travelling long distances to access authorised repairs and then being burdened by their supply restrictions.

“This change would significantly reduce repair work delays, getting farmers and their machinery back in the paddocks much quicker.

“Having a header out of commission during harvest, is the difference between a profitable year or running at a loss for a grain grower.”

Producers are also being locked into exorbitant costs with dealership networks for repairs and spare parts. Following the lead by other countries for the right to repair would also open up competition.

“Right to repair regimes are being introduced across most advanced economies around the world, including specific protections for agricultural machinery. It’s essential the Australian Government keeps pace with the world to ensure Australian farmers can fix their machinery on-farm,” Simson said.

This is backed by the Productivity Commission’s Right to Repair Inquiry in 2021, which recommended the Government “should introduce a repair supplies obligation on agricultural machinery”.

The NFF is calling on the Government to put that in action.

“Increased right to repair in our international competitors puts Australian farmers at a clear disadvantage if they have to pay more for machinery fixes, corroding Australian agricultural exports ability to compete on a level playing field in the international market,” Simpson said.

 

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