Awards recognise consumer advocates
World Consumer Rights Day on March 15 was a fitting occasion for 100 guests to gather for the 12th annual Consumer Protection Awards, held at the University Club of WA.
The awards are open to individuals, not-for-profit groups, businesses, local governments and the media, raising public awareness of consumer, tenancy or product safety issues.
Guests and awards finalists were treated to inspiring presentations regarding the people and some of the work being undertaken in the community advocating consumer rights.
One such person is Karen Merrin, who has managed the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre in Mirrabooka for the past 20 years.
She received the Rona Okely award, which recognises a person who has given their time, energy and experience for the betterment of others. Karen’s clients, who include migrants and refugees from diverse backgrounds, receive information and education regarding consumer law and their rights as tenants.
Another community organisation honoured was the Midland Information Debt and Legal Advocacy Service, or MIDLAS, which received the Richard (Dick) Fletcher award.
The centre has been operating for 25 years supporting vulnerable, disabled and disadvantaged people by providing financial counselling and tenancy advocacy.
Good Start Early Learning took out the Kidsafe WA Award, which rewards the promotion of product safety and injury prevention for children. Apart from providing safe play spaces, the organisation uses its database of more than 5000 WA families to promote safety information to the community on a range of issues including water safety and the dangers of button batteries.
Good Start Early Learning recently partnered with KidSafe to produce an animated video educating children about burn prevention.
The media category was won by the ABC’s national consumer affairs reporter Amy Bainbridge.
The Ruby Hutchison award acknowledges a journalist or media outlet for raising awareness and improving understanding of consumer issues. In the past year, Amy has produced stories on issues of particular interest to WA consumers. A stand-out report was used as part of a national campaign, spearheaded by Consumer Protection in WA, warning of property spruikers promoting rent-to-buy schemes.
If you know of a person or regional organisation that deserves recognition for their work advocating consumer rights, make sure you nominate them for the 2018 awards.