The McGowan Government has embarked on an action plan with the major focus of improving the services available to consumers and tenants living with disability in Western Australia.
This commitment, to mark International Day of People with Disability today, will see a number of initiatives launched that are aimed at enhancing engagement with, and service delivery to, this vulnerable group of consumers in WA.
As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, Consumer Protection convened the Empowering Consumers with a Disability Forum in August 2022.
The Forum was attended by people with disability and a wide range of government and non-government disability advocates.
The Forum confirmed the need, and appetite for, a focus on the consumer rights of people living with disability.
As a result of the Forum, Consumer Protection has committed to an action plan that involves:
- the implementation of a protocol for engagement with people living with a disability, supported by relevant staff training and resources;
- working with Shelter WA to continue, and expand, the reach of Shelter WA’s Building Tenancy Skills program;
- the development and deployment of plain English and Easy Read materials on tenancy; consumer rights under the Australian Consumer Law; and how to make a consumer complaint;
- the development and deployment of a simplified Consumer Protection complaint form and process; and
- formalising a Customer Advocate role, trialled in 2022, to provide support to people presenting to Consumer Protection who have complex problems and difficulty in accessing Consumer Protection’s standard services.
As stated by Commerce Minister Roger Cook:
“In developing and implementing these actions, Consumer Protection will consult directly with the WA Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability, disability advocates and people with lived experience of disability to ensure that actions are relevant, significant and practical. That consultation is already underway.
“In partnership with Circle Green and Shelter WA, Consumer Protection recently hosted a workshop for more than 10 service organisations that provide advice and support to tenants, many in a vulnerable situation including those living with disability.
“Workshop participants learned of the services available to tenants and the forum provided a valuable networking opportunity. Consumer Protection will organise further workshops along with tenant support organisations across the State.
“This is just one of many initiatives being planned as part of the Government’s focus on meeting the needs of people with disability in WA.”
As stated by Minister for Disability Services Don Punch:
“This International Day of People with Disabilities is all about empowering people and supporting the individuals and groups that help them. For the general community, it promotes awareness which will hopefully flow on to creating opportunities that will help those with disability to live a better life.
“Often people with disability are dealing with a variety of serious consumer and tenancy issues, so I welcome the focus on providing extra assistance to help them resolve problems and address their concerns.
“I commend Consumer Protection for making this commitment and I look forward to seeing this program of action having a real and beneficial impact on people living with disability in WA.”