Consumer office to stay open
■ 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.”