Is The ACCC Banning ATVs In Oz?
To be honest, unless you’re a farmer and understand the practical value of ATVs, news about ATVs rarely floats the boat of the average dirt bike enthusiast. And I’m right there with you, friends. But when I opened my email the other day and read the subject line of Yamaha’s PR – “YMA forced to exit ATV business” – I was already hooked. Whether that sensational ‘grab’ was designed to shock people into reading the PR or not, it worked. And I suspect I’m not the only one. After reading the PR itself, it soon become evident that YMA has not in fact exited the ATV business. Rather, they point to the fact that, if the ACCC’s recommendations are ratified by law – something YMA says appears “extremely likely” – then they will be “forced to cease selling utility ATVs in Australia”.
In any case, if for no other reason that it’ll affect a huge number of motorcycles dealerships and farmers in Australia, this a major development, and one that YMA hope the weight of public opinion can prevent from taking effect.
Here’s the full transcript of YMA’s PR, along with some suggestions about how to prevent a senseless ACCC recommendation from being ratified and made law…
If ACCC recommendations in their current state are passed as law, Yamaha Motor Australia will be forced to cease selling utility ATVs in Australia. The ACCC has drafted what it calls ATV Mandatory Safety Standards for the government, who are poised to sign off on them. The draft can be viewed here: https://consultation.accc.gov.au/product-safety/quad-bike-safety-standard-exposure-draft/
Should the ACCC recommendations be ratified – which is looking extremely likely – then within 12 months, ATVs will need to comply to certain engineering standards, and within 24 months will be required to be fitted with an Operator Protective Device (OPD) and meet new standards. Independent studies have shown that OPDs are not an effective safety solution and are likely to cause as many injuries as they may prevent. In addition, there is no safety standard for OPDs. These are the main reasons that Yamaha engineers will not make the design changes that are proposed for the AUS market. This means the end of the line for Yamaha utility ATVs in Australia.
“The science behind the draft is both faulty and selective. Yamaha Motor Australia has advised the ACCC that behaviour is easily the biggest contributing factor to ATV safety. We pointed out that three successive coronial inquiries have concluded that enforced behavioural standards rather than product modification are the solution. And that our industry is actively trying to change behavioural attitudes and would greatly appreciate support in achieving this,” explains Yamaha Motor Australia Director Brad Ryan.
“Unfortunately, the ACCC Quadbike Taskforce continues to push for engineering changes and product modifications which look to be political rather than scientific decisions. And now the federal government is making a decision that will make no utility ATVs our new reality,” he adds.
The absence of ATVs from the Australian market will not only hamper farm business, it will also negatively impact many ATV dealers. There is time to oppose the ACCC recommendations but all comments, calls and submissions must be made before 5pm on June 10, 2019.
We ask all interested parties to voice their opinions by:
- Contacting the minister currently responsible for handling the sign off – Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert (07) 5500 5919 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Making this an election issue – contact your local candidates in the upcoming election to voice your concern
- Contacting the Anti Competition and Consumer Commission here https://consultation.accc.gov.au/product-safety/quad-bike-safety-standard-exposure-draft/ and make a submission
Promoting ATV safety
Yamaha Motor Australia has consistently promoted ATV safety over the years having:
- Launched the ATV Safety Institute (now YASSI) to improve riding skills
- Given away free how-to-ride safety videos (then DVDs) with every ATV
- Introduced the “Wear it or Park it” helmet safety campaign
- Developed the farmer-friendly ATV helmet in conjunction with Shark
- Acted with the FCAI to promote five-star ATV safety guidelines
- Actively promoted safe use of ATVs – eg, via riding demonstrations at field days and with marketing material
- Hired ATV safety ambassadors, Grant Denyer and Lee Kernaghan, to assist in getting the message to farmers
- Yamaha Motor Australia supported these safety initiatives following independent research recommendations. And because coronial inquiries have concluded that behavioural standards – rather than product modifications – hold the key to ATV safety.