Mr Tim Smith
Shadow Minister for Planning and Heritage, Shadow Minister for Local Government, Shadow Minister for Housing, Shadow Minister for Population
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The Hon. Jenny Mikakos
Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services, Minister for the Coordination of Health and Human Services COVID-19
Deputy leader of the Government in the Legislative Council
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The Hon. Scott Robin
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The Hon. Nazih Elasmar
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Dr Samantha Ratnam
Leader of The Victorian Greens, Spokesperson for Gambling, Spokesperson for Housing and Planning, Spokesperson for Community Services, Spokesperson for Women, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs, Spokesperson for Multiculturalism, Spokesperson for Local Government, Spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs, Spokesperson for Industrial Relations, Spokesperson for Animals
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Mr Anthony Carbines
Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Parliamentary Secretary for Carers
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Mr Craig Ondarchie
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Ms Fiona Patten
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Ms Kat Theophanous
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The Victorian Government has stated a desire to get COVID-safe businesses up and running as soon as possible. However, the Australian Car Wash Association (ACWA) is concerned that this is not the case. ACWA has made multiple submissions to Ministers with portfolio responsibilities impacted by COVID-19 and, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Minister Martin Pakula for his concern for this crisis. However, unable to gain traction amongst decision-makers, the industry is seeking a simple and rational change to Melbourne’s Stage 4 Restrictions that will allow operators to survive the pandemic.
The car wash industry is significant. Across the country, more than 3,000 car wash sites have an economic impact of $527m and employ over 5,000 people. And Victoria leads the country, with more wash locations than any other state. Sadly, this may not remain the case without your help.
Here in Melbourne and regional Victoria, we are safer than almost any other permitted business activity. Yet, regulators appear prepared to stand by and senselessly watch as car wash businesses, their families, and thousands of workers go to the wall. Victoria’s car wash operators are set to become collateral damage in the war against coronavirus and, it does not have to be this way
Commercial car washing meets all Government key criteria for an industry sector which can be safely opened for business. Car Washing has an extraordinarily low impact on community movement. Data shows it is rarely something an individual specifically leaves home to purchase. Indeed, most car wash customers buy the product whilst engaged in another activity; on the way to or from permitted work, filling their car with petrol or on the way to the supermarket for food.
Washing at a commercial car wash is an extremely low-risk activity for the Victorian public. Particularly automated drive-through services where drivers do not even have to leave their vehicles.
- Automatic car washes provide a "click and collect" service. Customers remain in the safety of their vehicle and have no human contact.
- Self-serve bays are wide enough to surround a vehicle, and tiled walls separate customers at all times.
- Soap and detergent are the natural enemies of the COVID-19 virus, and these products are those upon which a car wash is built.
Most car maintenance experts recommend washing your car once a week to prevent contaminants from damaging the car's paint and finish. Some vehicles if not cleaned for the duration of the Stage 4 lockdown, will be permanently damaged. Bugs and bird droppings are not just an unsightly inconvenience; they are acidic and cause lasting damage to vehicle paintwork. For many, there is no alternative to using a commercial car wash to protect their asset. Victorian EPA regulations make it illegal to wash your car in a driveway or on the street.
At a minimum, drivers need to keep windows and headlights clean to ensure their safety. Car washing is entirely consistent with Health Authority reminders to reduce the spread of the COVID virus by frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces. The Car Wash Industry in Melbourne, as well as regional Victoria, is unnecessarily haemorrhaging from the State’s COVID-19 Restrictions. It does not have to be this way. COVID-19 restrictions have placed car wash businesses, their families, and thousands of workers under financial stress from which some may never recover. They can safely open and should be able to do so. I call on the Government to deliver a sensible restart to the car wash industry.