Awards recog­nise con­sumer ad­vo­cates

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Gwyn­neth Hay­wood Gwyn­neth Hay­wood is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer for Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

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.

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