Another Australian commission backs Right to Repair measures

The Australian government’s Productivity Commission has just published its report about the Right to Repair. The report looks at whether new Right to Repair measures should be introduced in Australia and makes a number of recommendations to the government.

At first glance, there are lots of positive recommendations here, including:

  • Software updates: introduce a new guarantee for manufacturers to provide software updates for a reasonable time period after the product has been purchased
  • Consumer guarantees: strengthen the enforcement of consumer guarantees and making it clearer that using 3rd party repair services or spare parts does not void these guarantees
  • Repair manuals: amend copyright laws to facilitate the accessing and sharing of repair information (such repair manuals, and repair data hidden behind digital locks).
  • Repairability labels: introduce a product labelling scheme that provides repairability and/or durability information for consumers.

But in some areas, it doesn’t seem to have gone as far as it could have. For example:

Manufacturer restrictions on repair supplies for mobile phones and tablets are likely to
be resulting in some consumer harm […] However, data limitations and
some countervailing market characteristics (such as high product turnover) mean that
the evidence base is insufficient to justify specific policy interventions at this time

The report instead recommends the government:

undertake more detailed investigations into specific product markets (including mobile phones and tablets, and medical devices) to better understand the extent of harm and examine whether additional regulation would yield net benefits.

I’m still reading it through, so I’m sure there’s lots of detail I haven’t got to yet. I’m also interested to hear @Mend_It_Australia’s take :slight_smile: What do you folks make of it?

If anyone wants to help explore the full report, you can find it here:

See previously: Australian commission backs Right to Repair for agricultural equipment (May 2021)


Hi James

Thanks so much for posting your initial thoughts and the Full Report.

Mend It started our first submission back in 2020 before and over Christmas.

The #AURightToRepair has been our project in 2021 during 270+ days in lockdown in Melbourne.

We are certainly able to add our thoughts on the document in due course.

Forgive me but it may take a week or so as we are busy just getting the news out there.

And 395 pages is a lot to get through.

It was a pity Apple’s announcement came after the close of the inquiry.

And also a pity, in our opinion, that Scotland’s News of a scaling up of repair cafes and tool libraries also arrived after the inquiry had closed. I’ll explain why next time but I am sure you may have a good idea about that.

Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts and those of others here.

Off to watch Welcome to Sweden with Danny.

Thanks again! Karen


Hi James and those interested in this thread.

Unfortunately, in our opinion, community repair efforts were not captured well in


's #AURightToRepair report. There was no recommendation to support this movement with federal funding like the Scottish Government has planned and we recommended.

Mend It’s main focus writing its two submissions and attending three hearings via zoom was to push for a community repair finding and recommendation. We made three recommendations in DR227 to the APC

We expressed our concern that community repair in the draft report lacked attention to community empowerment and was more focused on consumer rights.

We agree with this sentiment from a colleague as follows:

“It’s not written with the intention to encourage repair its written with the intention to protect interests from groups such as farmers, consumers, car repairers”

The Conversation has written some further insights here

Mend It has requested The Conversation write another article focussing on community repair in relation to this report.

I am unable to say as to whether Repair Australia will be making a statement on the report. Should this be sought, please contact the steering committee via its website.

Thanks, Karen.
Mend It, Australia

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Thanks for this Karen. It’s a real shame to hear your evidence doesn’t seem to have made it into the final report and it’s useful to learn that it lacks real provisions for community repair. I hadn’t picked up on this in the summary.

The Scottish scheme does seem like a really positive one and I’m really excited to see how Circular Communities Scotland gets on building the repair cafe and sharing library network. We’re hoping to work with them directly as part of our involvement with the Community Repair Network. With any luck, it could become a useful model for others to draw on.

If The Conversation does write that second piece, do share it; it would be interesting to read further details :slight_smile:

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