Give consumers more avenues to right to repair, says PC

The Productivity Commission has called for regulatory changes to give consumers more options to repair smartphones and other consumer durables.

In its Right to Repair report released on 1 December, the commission said existing barriers to repair for some products are significant and unnecessary and could be improved by clarifying consumer rights, giving independent repairs greater access to spare parts and information.

“There is also scope to improve the way products are managed over their life, to reduce e-waste ending up in landfill,” the report says.

The Morrison government asked the PC last year to assess the costs and benefits of a right to repair in Australia.

The terms of reference also allowed for an examination of the impacts of waste (especially e-waste generated from the disposal of consumer electronics and household goods) and the current arrangements for the disposal and management of e-waste.

In a submission to the inquiry, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said support for local government and community repair schemes should be a cornerstone of any future Right to Repair framework.

“Each year, local government collects and receives around nine million tonnes of waste, sorts it at material recovery facilities (MRFs), dispatches what can be recycled to reprocessing facilities, resells what can be reused through community-based ‘green shed’ programs, and landfills the remaining portion,” the submission noted.

“Local governments, therefore, have a major interest in diverting waste from landfills, and in principle support the proposition, expressed in the Inquiry’s consultation paper, that improving the right to repair will potentially lead to improved environmental outcomes due to less resource use and waste.”

Click here to read or download the inquiry report.