MICHAEL MCCORMACK: As the Minister responsible for consumer affairs, yesterday I made a directive that there is to be a proposed recall notice.
There was a voluntary recall notice, now it’s going to be the next step along the lines to a possible mandatory recall.
I’ve put the manufacturers on notice that they are to do everything they can to issue notices, to issue letters, to even contact people personally who may have a Takata airbag fitted in their car and for anybody who may think that they have a Takata airbag or even if they are driving a vehicle or owning a vehicle to visit productsafety.gov.au and see if their vehicle has an airbag from Takata installed in their car.
And I can’t stress the importance of this enough.
There are more than 2.4 million cars in Australia with Takata airbags in them which need replacing, so this is the largest product recall in Australia’s history.
What the manufacturers are on notice to do is to make sure that they contact the ACCC; they can have what is called a conference with the ACCC, but they are to take every step available, take every measure possible to contact those people who they have sold cars to, who may have a Takata airbag.
This is going to be a matter where it’s going to be from town to town, from garage to garage, from scrapyard to scrapyard, to find and identify these Takata airbags.
And in the case of Alpha airbags, if people visit productsafety.gov.au and find they have an Alpha airbag fitted in their car don’t drive it. I can’t stress that enough. Call your dealer, call the manufacturer and make sure that car gets collected on a tow truck because these things can be deadly.
It’s a major issue worldwide; there are more than 100 million Takata airbags which have been recalled. That’s why I have taken this step yesterday, to make sure there is that step that manufacturers now need to take.
I will now await advice from the ACCC to see what needs to be done. If the ACCC then asks for or recommends a mandatory recall then that will follow.
But at the moment the manufacturers know that they are to put steps in place to contact owners of cars fitted with Takata airbags or, indeed, utes, small trucks or even motorbikes.
I can’t stress enough for people to visit productsafety.gov.au to see if their vehicle, their model, their make, their particular vehicle has one of these fitted and if it does contact your dealer.
If it has an Alpha airbag then ring your dealer and get them to drop around with a tow truck and pick your car up.
Do not, I repeat, do not drive that vehicle.
JOURNALIST: What sort of cars do you know have these airbags in them? Are there any particular companies we should be monitoring?
McCORMACK: There is a wide range of manufacturers, a wide range of makes and models and that is why I would encourage and urge and insist people visit productsafety.gov.au to see if their particular car is on that list.
Originally, there were 2.49 million cars which had Takata airbags. There has been a voluntary recall in place since 2009 and many of these cars have had their Takata airbags replaced.
Unfortunately, because there was a worldwide shortage of Takata airbags some faulty airbags which would have degraded over a period of time were put into place just to buy some time for the manufacturers and that was done with the full knowledge of the authorities but these airbags too are going to need to be refitted.
There are airbags available. The manufacturer of them has caught up and that’s why we are issuing this recall now, to make sure that people actually get these airbags back to the dealers so they can be replaced. I can’t insist enough that people contact product safety.gov.au