Last Chance Saloon: Air Con suppliers book meeting with Minister

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: The head of AREMA, the lobby group that represents air conditioner suppliers and manufacturers, will meet with the Queensland Government this Friday in a last ditch effort for a reprieve on new regulations that are set to cost the industry millions of dollars.

As reported on Current.com.au last week, the Queensland Government will begin enforcing the toughest air conditioner environmental standards in the country on 1 July 2009. This is set to cause havoc with suppliers and retailers, who claim they were not consulted as to the new regulations.

Talking about his frustration with these new regulations is AREMA secretariat and spokesperson, Steve Anderson.

“We found out about this for the first time in the week before Christmas [2008],” said Anderson. “We’ve been completely and utterly left out of the loop, and as far as we’re aware, the Department of Infrastructure and Planning didn’t talk to anyone in the industry at all about this.”

Joining Anderson at the meeting with Minister Stirling Hinchliffe this Friday will be Bernie Bugdalski from Fujitsu General, Ken Ball from Mitsubishi Electric, Robert Beggs from Daikin Australia and Colin Doyle from the Consumer Electronics Suppliers’ Association (CESA). Anderson gave Current.com.au a preview of what these lobbyists will be asking for.

“We will be asking the Minister that he reconsider, in light of the way the industry has been left out of the loop on this, the practicalities of this measure and balance the considerable negative economic impact this is going to have against any possible environmental improvements,” said Anderson.

Although this is last chance saloon for the air conditioner suppliers, and in Anderson’s own words they’re “running out of road”, he remains optimistic.

“We think that will lead him to delay the introduction of this measure until April and move Queensland back into line [with the rest of Australia].”

If unsuccessful, however, Anderson predicts the industry will descend into chaos.

“It’s going to be completely and utterly chaotic.

“People are going to have to identify the equipment that is affected by this change, which won’t necessarily be easy, then they are going to either have to send it somewhere else in Australia, where it is legal. There’s going to be a lot of difficulty in actually doing that.

“There’s going to be a great deal of difficulty in sourcing compliant product in time for the Spring air conditioning season, because people have they orders fixed, that’s all going to have to be changed.”

Current.com.au has contact Minister Hinchliffe’s office for comment. We look forward to publishing his views in a future story.

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