Con­sumer of­fice to stay open

Pilbara News - - News - Court­ney Fowler

■ The lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity breathed a sigh of re­lief last week af­ter the Depart­ment of Com­merce an­nounced the Kar­ratha Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion of­fice would re­main open, de­spite a num­ber of cost-cut­ting mea­sures across its oper­a­tions.

In July, Pil­bara News re­vealed the Kar­ratha and Kal­go­or­lie branches were be­ing con­sid­ered for cut­backs be­cause of a re­duc­tion in the depart­ment’s bud­get.

It is un­der­stood dur­ing a month-long con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod, the Depart­ment of Com­merce was flooded with letters call­ing for the re­gional of­fices to re­main open.

In a state­ment, act­ing Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion com­mis­sioner Gary New­combe con­firmed the depart­ment had been “per­suaded by re­sponses” to keep the Kar­ratha and Kal­go­or­lie of­fices open.

He said the depart­ment had iden­ti­fied other ar­eas in which to achieve the cost re­duc­tions re­quired.

Kar­ratha and Dis­tricts Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try chief ex­ec­u­tive John Lally wel­comed the de­ci­sion to re­think the pro­posed clo­sure of the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion of­fice in town.

“Los­ing ser­vices to small busi­nesses is the last thing we need,” he said.

“It has been proven that peo­ple on ground in Kar­ratha are more ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient at de­liv­er­ing ser­vices to the lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

The Com­mu­nity and Public Sec­tor Union/Civil Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion branch sec­re­tary Toni Walk­ing­ton said staff it rep­re­sented in re­gional of­fices pro­vided a “much-needed ser­vice” and were best placed to deal with lo­cal is­sues.

La­bor Min­ing and Pas­toral Re­gion MLC Stephen Daw­son said the re­moval of fur­ther gov­ern­ment ser­vices was coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to the Pil­bara Cities vi­sion to in­crease the pop­u­la­tion and num­ber of ser­vices in the re­gion.

“This ser­vice is val­ued by lo­cal con­sumers and busi­nesses alike, so it’s very pleas­ing that com­mon sense has pre­vailed and the of­fice will re­main open.”

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