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The global Takata airbag recall crisis has taken a new turn in Australia, with the Federal Government today announcing a compulsory recall.

Talk of stricter action on the matter has been ongoing since Australian recalls were initiated in 2009. Australia’s first Takata-related death in July last year – one of 23 globally – prompted the Federal Government to confirm in September that it was considering a compulsory recall.

That proposal was made by then-Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack, now Nationals leader and Australian Deputy Prime Minister.

Michael Sukkar, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, has today made the compulsory recall official, with details appearing on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.

UPDATE: If you think your vehicle may be affected, here is what you need to do.

MORE: Australia’s Takata recall: Strict rules and penalties, but little compensation

The compulsory recall adds urgency to what brands say they’re already working hard to achieve: identifying and replacing faulty airbag inflators as quickly as possible.

Making the recalls compulsory will undoubtedly strengthen the case for affected owners to demand loan vehicles and compensation, and more direct oversight by the ACCC and the Department of Infrastructure will be certain.

As announced last year, the recall requires all brands to replace defective Takata airbags by 31 December 2020, with priority given to ‘alpha’ airbags – which have been identified as those posing a greater safety risk.

According to the ACCC, brands with models affected by the so-called alpha bags include BMW, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota. It is important to note not all models of each brand are confirmed as affected, and many are claiming significant progress in replacing faulty airbags.

However, announcements of new and updated recalls are coming almost weekly. While brands are making progress, the number of recalled vehicles continues to grow.

Some brands, like Honda and Mitsubishi, are claiming multiple recall letters have gone un-actioned, and both have invested in efforts to reach owners via social media.

The number of vehicles affected in Australia is now understood to have climbed above four million – nearly one in five registered vehicles – while the overall global number is claimed to be upwards of 100 million.

Why is it taking brands so long to identify affected vehicles and replace faulty airbag inflators?

The delay in repairing vehicles confirmed as affected, along with the uncertainty around which models will included, has been an ongoing point of frustration, concern and fear for owners.

Brands contacted by CarAdvice have argued the process for confirming vehicles is long and arduous – one apparently not as simple as searching a database for model codes and batch numbers. All brands claim they are working around the clock to confirm numbers and initiate works.

All brands claim their progress was initially affected by wait times on global parts supply.

Representatives for manufacturers have been reticent to comment further, required as they are to toe the company line – which, more often than not, is that the extent of the now bankrupt Takata corporation’s deceit could not possibly have been known, and manufacturers have been left to deal with the consequences.

Senate hearings in the United States led to an admission of guilt from Takata in 2014, although representatives made to testify were described by The New York Times as evasive and unclear in their answers to questioning.

While car brands in the USA – Honda being one of the more severely affected, with nearly 10 million of its own vehicles involved in the recalls – agreeing to offer loan cars to owners.

Affected owners in Australia have not been as fortunate, left instead to decide for themselves how to manage the risk of injury while waiting for recalls to be announced, parts to arrive and works to be carried out.

In his announcement today, Minister Michael Sukkar said: “In particular, if a recalled vehicle has an alpha airbag, there is an immediate and extreme safety risk and these vehicles should not be driven.”

If they are to heed this advice without forced assistance from manufacturers, owners will be lumped with significant transport costs.

It is unknown if the compulsory recall will eventually provisions for loan vehicles or other compensation. Today’s announcement did not address the topic.

CarAdvice has contacted the ACCC and Minister Sukkar’s office and we will update this story as we know more.

The ACCC is holding a teleconference this morning. CarAdvice will join the call and report back with details.

UPDATE: If you think your vehicle may be affected, here is what you need to do.

MORE: Australia’s Takata recall: Strict rules and penalties, but little compensation
MORE: All Takata news coverage