Window Film Association of Australia and New Zealand Hits Quarter Century

October 11th, 2017 by Editor

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Window Film Association of Australia and New Zealand (WFAANZ).

In 1992 the New South Wales (NSW) State government banned auto film altogether, sending shockwaves through the industry and making apparent the urgent need for an association.

“I don’t think people realize how close the Aussie auto tint industry was to extinction. The industry, particularly in NSW, went into panic mode when the State government banned auto tint in ’92,” reflected George Mariotto, WFAANZ committee member. “The reason was clear – illegal, dark film was so out of control the NSW government’s response was to ban it outright.

“Stores that were tinting 20 to 40 vehicles a week suddenly dropped to two vehicles a week,” Mariotto continued. “It took more than three months to overturn the ban, during which time the industry Australia-wide was going through an enormous period of uncertainty. It is important to note that several stores and one-man operations went out of business during this time.

“Prior to this point, submissions made to relevant state transport authorities by individual companies usually fell on deaf ears, as it was seen to be a self-serving commercial interest. Not to mention that by the early 1990s most state transport authorities were ‘anti-tint’ and, therefore, our submissions generally never got past first base.”

Once three or four film companies banded together as an industry association, then called the International Window Film Association Australasia (IWFAA), the strength of a collective was forged.

WFAANZ employed a lobbyist to spearhead discussions with the NSW government, and after considerable time, effort and money, the ban was overturned and the NSW Government agreed to a 35-percent VLT regulation, 10-percent external reflection and no retrospective ‘film removal’ requirement for customers who kept their vehicles. Upon sale of the vehicle, the film was to be removed.

Mariotti said, “WFAANZ played – and continues to play – an important role in positively changing the mindset of individuals employed in these government authorities to enable fairer discussions and therefore outcomes.”

“I can tell you with 100-percent conviction,” Mariotti concluded, “…we wouldn’t have had that successful result if we didn’t join forces as an association. And, equally as important, is that the victory sent a signal to all the other road and traffic authorities, resulting in their adaptation of the NSW regulation.”

Nothing demonstrates this better than the recent announcement by the Queensland State government of the changed VLT requirement of 20 percent for windows rear of the driver. The minimum VLT was previously 35 percent. This revision is the result of the 2016 National Transport Commission recommendations, which WFAANZ participated in.

“WFAANZ was built on a foundation of independence, its mission was to protect all Aussie tint businesses – whether they be auto, flat glass, commercial or residential, small or large. This value is still reflected in everything we do today,” said current president Ally Cronan. “We’re not about pushing particular products … We want to grow the industry as a whole. I’ve loved being part of WFAANZ for the last ten years, particularly working with the dedicated, passionate and often colourful characters out there who make up our membership. Here’s to the next 25.”

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