The federal government is giving consumers the power to choose which companies they buy car insurance from, instead of being forced to rely on a website like carinsurance.gov.au.
The move, which comes after months of protests and legal battles, comes after a backlash from car owners who complained that the government was changing car rates without their consent.
The change will make it easier for consumers to get their car insurance through a car insurance company, instead having to go through a website.
“We want to be able to choose our own insurance provider,” Assistant Minister of Consumer Affairs Lisa Parker said on Wednesday.
“So if you’re a small business, or if you are someone who doesn’t want to pay for a car but you want to insure your family or yourself, you can have that choice.”
Ms Parker said consumers would be able choose between a new company like A&B, and an existing company like ANZ, which would be based in Canberra.
“They can also choose from a range of other companies,” she said.
“That’s a big change.”
Consumers can still go to the government website to find out what car insurance companies they are buying, but they can also visit the new website to buy insurance.
“Now they can have their choice of the right provider and we can also give them that choice,” Ms Parker said.
She said the change was aimed at encouraging more people to take out car insurance, and the cost of the new system was being kept secret from consumers.
“The only way you’re going to get the cost is to have that information in front of you,” she told ABC Radio Canberra.
In January, the federal government introduced changes to car insurance rates that saw the price of the cheapest auto insurance start at $9.99 a day, and go up to $17.99 per day.
The price of a car with a gross value less than $200,000 would be $7,800.
The new system is currently available to customers in Canberra and the south-west, but Ms Parker did not say whether other regions would be affected by the changes.
“There are still quite a few states and territories that are not covered by this,” she added.
“And we’ll be monitoring the state and territory insurance rates and we’ll see what happens.”
Consumer groups have criticised the government for the changes, saying they were not in the interests of consumers.
The Australian Automobile Manufacturers Association has criticised the changes as “unnecessary, unnecessary, and will lead to a higher cost of insurance for many Australians”.
“It’s the first time since the introduction of the national carbon price that we’ve seen a major government program designed to increase car insurance prices without any consultation to consumers,” the group said in a statement.
The Government is working on a proposal to change the way Australians buy car ownership, which could include increasing the amount of tax they pay on their car purchases.
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