Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (17:24): I rise to speak to the Second-hand Vehicle Dealers (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2023. This bill seeks to get some honesty in the second-hand vehicle department. Obviously, there is a lot of honesty in selling second-hand vehicles but sometimes there is not. This bill was introduced on 15 November last year by the Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs, and obviously it will amend the Second-hand Vehicle Dealers Act 1995.

In regard to some of the clauses of the bill, clause 4 of the bill would increase the existing penalties for carrying out business as a second-hand vehicle dealer without a licence. The penalty for a first or second offence would increase to $150,000 up from $100,000. For a third or subsequent offence, it would increase to $250,000 from $100,000 or two years' imprisonment, up from 12 months. For an offence committed by a body corporate, the penalty would increase to $500,000, and that is up from $250,000. In the first instance we see, probably as a deterrent more than anything, the significant rises in the penalties for breaches of this legislation, if it does go through the house, and I am sure it will.

Clause 12 would increase the existing penalties for interfering with an odometer. This penalty would increase to $150,000, which is a significant increase from $10,000 per offence. For third and subsequent offences, it would introduce the option of a maximum of two years' imprisonment. This is one of the clauses that is getting quite a bit of debate on this legislation. There are a lot of stories, a lot of folklore, around selling second-hand cars. We always hear the story that 'it was only driven by a little old lady to church on Sundays or down to the shop on Saturdays,' and things like that. Sometimes, it is pretty difficult looking at a second-hand vehicle to see what has been flashed up on it unless you know what you are looking for. Even then, you might miss something that has been puttied up in terms of the bodywork and some things are more obvious—

Mr Whetstone interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: —I am getting a lot of help from my colleagues here—than others. It is just the way of how vehicles can be presented. I remember the second car I owned which was a 1971 HQ and, yes, it looked straight enough. I did not pay a lot for it. That car was very reliable for three years: a 173 three on the tree. If you do not know what that is you might have to google it. That was after I had a disaster with a four-cylinder 1975 Torana with a four-cylinder Opel motor. That only lasted 12 months, and I went backwards in the years to buy this HQ. It was a magnificent car; a good shearer's car. You could get six people in it.

Soon enough, next thing there was a hole in the left-hand passenger door that you could get a cricket ball through that had rusted out. That car was a terrible colour: powder-puff blue with a white roof. I played with it a bit. I jacked it up and put spotlights on—all the carry-on. Pump-up shocks on the back was the go back in the day. But, no, the old Holdens went forever. I think in three years I just put a water pump in.

I did not worry about fixing the door; it was not worth it.

It is one of those things: cars can be made to look a lot better than they actually are. As I said, you can detail them in many different ways. Obviously, people in the trade are more likely to know how to do that and, quite legitimately, they get detailed for a genuine second-hand sale to look as smart as they can to get the best possible price, because that is their business. But some people go one step above and, as I said, you hear a lot of folklore around odometers being spun back. It is not right, because it is fraud and it disguises the actual real age and condition of that vehicle.

I have not had many cars since the HQ. I bought a brand new Sigma in 1983, courtesy of some mining money. That went alright, but the motor was not good enough for hard runs across the Nullarbor—and I will leave that there. In January 1990 I managed to get my new V8 ute, which was one of the first ones back after the Holden WBs were phased out, I think in about 1984. The VG Holdens were the equivalent of the VN in the car range. I think there were only 5,690 of that model ever built as a ute variant. They actually had a higher roof put in them so that you could wear your Akubra, like the Commodores and Statesmans in the same range.

I still have that red ute to this day. It has done a few kilometres and it has had quite a journey. It sat in a shed for a long time. It was suggested that as I had not registered it for a while that perhaps I would sell it, so I just went down to the rego place and registered it again. I did not need it; we obviously had work cars in this role. I got it out occasionally for a bit of fun, and then down the track I decided to invest in it and I bought it back, but that is alright; she will go for a long time now. The one thing I have not touched is the motor. These old five-litre 304 motors in these Holdens are built of good steel. That ute has done about 450,000 kilometres, so it has gone a long way. It has a basically rebuilt gearbox, diff, all of the suspension works. There are no bananas in the diff, which is another old trick.

The interesting thing is the odometer only shows 260,000 kilometres but it has actually done 190,000 kilometres more, or very close to that mark. I have always remembered that number from when I had to get the dash repaired because I did not have a temperature gauge in the original dash that was in it. My auto-electrician said, 'Look, I'll just get another dash out of something else and swap it over, the whole thing: speedo, rev counter, fuel gauge, temperature gauge.' That is what happened. People say, 'How well has your ute done?' A mechanic might say it has done 260,000 kilometres and it is not in bad nick. I would say, 'Well, it's in really good nick because it has done 190,000 kilometres more than that.'

I suppose what I am saying, and I think it is caught up in the act, is if this ute was sold to a dealer or traded or something and someone wanted to onsell it, there would have to be that disclosure. I am not sure whether someone would have to wind the odometer up. I am assuming, and the minister might be able to help me in her contribution later or in committee time, you would have to find a way to actually wind it to the appropriate kilometres that it has done. I will give credit to that old motor. I seek leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.



Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 20 February 2024.)

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (16:07): I am just continuing my remarks from last night in relation to the Second-hand Vehicle Dealers (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill. I was giving a long discourse about the kilometres difference on my December 1989 red ute, which I still own.

As I indicated yesterday, the minister may explain to me during the conversation—or when we go into the committee stage—on disclosing the differences if, for instance, I was a second-hand dealer selling that vehicle. As I indicated, on the clock it shows only about 260,000 kilometres because it has been fitted with a different dash as some other components were not working—I think it was the temperature gauge from memory, but it was a long time ago. It is only 190,000 kilometres out.

Under clause 13 in the bill, where it talks about false or misleading statements in relation to this, I am unsure whether making a statement when you were selling it (or something like that) was enough instead of having to work out whether you could adjust the odometer to get it to the correct level, which may have to be done. It will just be interesting to see whether that is what has to happen.

In talking to some of my colleagues, a lot of us come off farms. There are a lot of vehicles on farms. Usually they are old trucks that are used for fire trucks that might have been your main truck 30 or 40 years ago—and no gauges work. Like our old International AB62, a 1960s-era build International. It carted a lot of grain for us; it was about a six-tonne payload legally. That did not have any gauges. I think I blew up the motor when we had a firefighting unit on it fighting a fire and she lost all her water one day. That was the end of that. But there would be many vehicles like that out in the private sector, and certainly if something like that was sold through a second-hand dealer it is something that would have to be remediated.

That is the interesting thing. There would be a lot of vehicles in circulation somewhere in the piece where there would be no idea of what they had actually done. For whatever reason, and it might not be anything nefarious, the odometer might have been disconnected or just no-one cared and they just drove it and it did not matter to them and they got on with it. So there certainly could be a range of vehicles in a range of situations where something like that could have happened where no-one for practical reasons more than anything wanted to repair it.

I know this is branching away from the fullness of the bill to a degree, but what stunned me during COVID was that I realised how many cars get traded across state borders, especially having a border with Victoria. I would have people contacting the office asking, 'What do we do?' I said, 'Whatever you do, wherever they say Victoria is, do not go there. Let the Victorians push the car across or whatever.' I think it is a credit to everyone at the border crossings, including the police and others, that there must have been hundreds, if not thousands over the time, of cars at various border points that were transferred. I know that is digressing a little bit from second-hand dealers, but it just proved to me how many vehicles get traded. There were several constituents.

I remember one constituent who rang me on a Friday afternoon about 4.50pm and said, 'I am trading a car at Bordertown.' I asked, 'When are you doing that?' They said, 'Tomorrow.' I said, 'Really? Do not go into whatever they deem is Victoria. Let them push it across. Ring me if it hits the fan, so to speak.' Anyway, I did not get a phone call, so it worked. I know that is digressing a bit from the intent of this bill because it deals predominantly with second-hand dealers. But it did intrigue me that even through COVID people were still keen to keep mobile and have opportunities to buy second-hand vehicles.

The intent of the bill is very good, especially in regard to increasing the penalties. Clause 4 is around the penalty for carrying out a business without a licence. I think is important that that penalty has increased by quite a lot. Also, the penalties for interfering with an odometer goes up to $150,000 from $10,000 per offence. As I said earlier in my contribution, I think that will assist in deterring people who may be in the industry and may want to turn those odometers back, or they have a bit of a chop shop set up out the back which is next level, I know, and it is not just odometers. Hopefully it deters people from doing that.

As I was indicating around clause 13 and prohibiting people making false or misleading statements, I note that there are some language changes in the bill to cover electric vehicles and also to remove obsolete references to 'facsimile'. I think it just says 'email' now, from memory.

I think this is very important, especially for people who on face value like to trust everyone, and sadly, in the world, you cannot. I have a couple of boys and they are very keen on vehicles, apart from driving my vehicles. Angus is only 19 and he is on his third vehicle. I have tried to slow him down a bit and said, 'You are an apprentice, mate. Just work for a while and let's get a really good car down the track.' But they always want that one that is a bit better.

The Hon. A. Michaels interjecting:

Mr PEDERICK: Well, exactly. Mack is working FIFO so he has a little bit of extra cash and, apart from this beautiful 1998 VS Statesman Series III, which is a beautiful car, he has a 2008 Audi S8 he bought from Canberra, a very nice little all-wheel drive car that really grips the road.

So I think this bill is for the kids and for those who take people at face value, and for the ones who are buying cars from dealers. As I have indicated, there are a lot of cars and vehicles that are traded privately and it is sort of at your own call. I know Mack was looking at some of these cars. I cannot remember the model now but he was looking at a second-hand BMW and he got it inspected. I am glad he did not end up with one because it might have ended up being a long time in the garage, but anything can.

This bill gives a little bit of solace to those people who are just trying to buy a genuine vehicle with genuine kilometres in the condition they can see it in, and if they get it inspected—even inspectors may not pick up if an odometer has been changed even a significant amount if it is spruced up enough. This bill will go a long way to getting some more honesty in the system for those who want to be nefarious. I note the industry supports this legislation so I support the bill.

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