Safety Warning Notice Issued: Takata Airbags

Media Release

PF033/2017

07 August 2017

Joint release with:

The Hon Michael McCormack MP

Minister for Small Business
Federal Member for Riverina

SMALL Business Minister Michael McCormack has today issued a Safety Warning Notice to warn consumers of the possible risks presented by the use of vehicles fitted with Takata airbags.

“As Minister responsible for Consumer Affairs, my most important job is to protect Australian consumers' safety,” Mr McCormack said.

“Today, I have issued a Safety Warning Notice on Takata airbags to ensure consumers are informed about these potentially dangerous products and to ensure swift action is taken to replace these products in affected vehicles.

“I have taken this step in consultation with Minister Paul Fletcher, as Minister responsible for Motor Vehicle Standards, and on advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Government's consumer product safety regulator.”

Mr McCormack said the decision comes after the Government last week demanded answers from vehicle manufacturers about progress being made to recall faulty airbags.

“On my direction, following responses from vehicle manufacturers, the ACCC has established a Taskforce which has opened a safety investigation into this matter, which will involve consultation with vehicle dealers and manufacturers,” Mr McCormack said.

“The ACCC will investigate the risks involved in the use of vehicles with Takata airbags, including the actions of manufacturers to inform consumers about the risks, as well as the adequacy and speed of their airbag replacement programs.

“The ACCC, along with other State and Territory regulators, will continue to respond to consumer enquiries, and to provide advice and support to consumers.

“The taskforce will report to Government on what further actions may be needed in the coming weeks, including the possibility of issuing a mandatory recall.”

Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said the Government was taking the necessary steps to inform consumers given the vital importance of Australians being safe on our roads.

“It is important that everything possible is being done to inform and assist affected consumers, and that vehicle manufacturers continue to carry out the recall process as rapidly as possible,” Mr Fletcher said.

“With an estimated 1.5 million vehicles fitted with recalled Takata airbags on Australian roads and the possible risk of injuries and fatalities, the Government has acted to bring the manufacturers to the table to find a solution which sees swift replacement of these potentially defective airbags.

“Fifteen manufacturers have announced 75 recalls in Australia for vehicles with Takata airbags installed, affecting a large number of car makes and models, and a small number of motorcycles and trucks.

“The Government is strongly urging vehicle owners to check whether their car has been recalled on the ACCC's dedicated Product Safety website: www.productsafety.gov.au/takata.

“If your vehicle is subject to the recall, please urgently contact your local dealership or the vehicle manufacturer to organise to have the airbag replaced as soon as possible.”

Background

The Safety Warning Notice issued today states that there is a possible risk of serious injury or death from the use of vehicles fitted with Takata airbags.

This risk is due to the defective airbag inflator which may misdeploy in an accident, and metal shards from the inflator may be propelled with force with the effect of potentially injuring or killing drivers, riders or passengers.

There have been a large number of injuries and fatalities around the world, including in Australia, which may be related to these products.

This matter is subject to a safety investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC will provide advice to the Government following its investigation, including recommendations for informing and protecting consumers, and removing defective airbags from affected vehicles.

The Safety Warning Notice can be found on the ACCC's product safety website: www.productsafety.gov.au.