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    Consumer Issues

    In addition to the essential services consumer policy and advocacy work undertaken by WACOSS, the organisation is also engaged in broader consumer issues. Active consumer advocacy and strong consumer protection frameworks are essential to the promotion of a productive and socially just society.

    The extent to which different groups of consumers are able to effectively participate within the marketplace varies greatly; with some consumers able to engage the market to their own advantage more successfully than others. Low income and disadvantaged consumers, due to constrictions such as reduced financial capacity and access to the market, or a lack of knowledge in relation to their rights, often have a diminished ability to effectively participate in the market.

    It is crucial that consumer protection frameworks are designed to promote equitable outcomes for people facing financial hardship, living on lower incomes or experiencing other forms of disadvantage. It is important for regulators and policy-makers to have a good understanding of the difficulties faced by people experiencing financial hardship or other types of social vulnerability and the different avenues of consumer protection required for consideration within this context. In addition, the provision of appropriate protections for the most vulnerable consumers in the market inevitably has the effect of delivering greater safeguards for all consumers.

    Consumer protection, in addition to ensuring that people facing barriers to participation in certain markets are able to participate appropriately, also promotes fairness within our society, protects the public from serious detriment, and promotes an informed demand-side within the economy.

    On 1 January 2011, Western Australia implemented the Australian Consumer Law. This legislation replaces a wide range of existing State and Territory consumer laws and ensures consistency in consumer rights and responsibilities across Australia through a single, nationally uniform consumer law. In Western Australia the Australian Consumer Law is being implemented by way of the Fair Trading Act 2010.

    Consumer Issues Publications:

    1. WACOSS Submission to the National Food Plan Green Paper September 2012
      file (514.07 KB)
    2. Background Info Paper Medicare Locals Community Organisations August 2012
      file (711.11 KB)
    3. State Budget 2007/08 Information Sheet - Consumer Protection May 2007
      file (30.79 KB)
    4. WACOSS Submission to the Review of Australia's Consumer Policy Framework May 2007
      file (139.91 KB)
    5. State Budget 2006/07 Information Sheet - Consumer Protection May 2006
      file (27.82 KB)