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Boat market rocked by new website specialising in grey imports

by AMA on 24 Mar 2013
A cautionary tale about buying ’grey imports’ .. ©
The Australian Marine Alliance (AMA) has highlighted that the Australian boat manufacturing sector faces a bleak future due to Federal Government inaction on the importation of so-called grey imports that are not compliant with Australian standards.

Dean Logan, AMA CEO argued, 'Australian boat manufacturers are at a complete disadvantage
primarily due to inept leadership.

'Manufacturers spend millions of dollars to comply with a plethora of standards and yet have to sit and watch as thousands of non-compliant boats and trailers enter our ports.'

On behalf of industry the AMA rang Federal Minister Greg Combet in November and spoke to two senior officials at the Australian Manufacturers Workers’ Union (AMWU) one of which was the National President. We sent a comprehensive brief to both offices and have heard nothing.

The concerns are:
o Official figures show tens of thousands of grey imports – boats and trailers - are entering the Australian market placing major pressure on Australian manufacturers.
o Grey imports do not comply with Australian standards and are not afforded warranty provisions by accredited dealers.
o Most concerning is the safety aspect of design for both boats and trailers. The AMA has photographic evidence of imported trailers literally snapping in half under the pressure of a boat, raising serious road safety concerns especially for holidaying families.
o Trailers: initial statistics point to 7,000 non-compliant trailers (2007 – 2012 year to date) are
imported, however the new figures from the Department point more toward 22,000 year-to-date. They are entering as either ‘cradles’ or ‘trailer parts’ to avoid paying GST.
o Motor vehicles imported into Australia must comply with stringent design controls and yet
under the current system you can drive a non-compliant USA made speed-boat on the water
at 120km/p/hr.

Mr Logan said: 'We are raising the issue yet again because nothing has or is being done. Secondly, a brand new .com.au website has just been launched specifically to import thousands of cheap boats and trailers into Australia.

'Thirdly, USA insurance companies are projected to release onto the second hand market, in-excess of 60,000 boats and trailers as a result of insurance claims resulting from Hurricane Sandy.

'The solution is very simple. The AMA has asked the Government to allow registered marine surveyors to be placed at major entry ports and have all incoming product assessed against Australian standards.

'Customs would simply notify the exporter that the boats and trailers will need to be inspected before granting import approval. Inspection costs will be paid for by the purchaser in Australia and the boat / trailer will not be
released until deemed compliant or rectification work is completed.

'In summary, this is a serious issue that warrants urgent attention by those who claim to be supporting Australian manufacturers and the boating sector. The last thing the AMA wants is a Coroner asking questions as to why someone was killed on the water by a boat that did not comply with Australian safety standards.'

More at www.australianmarinealliance.com.au

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