A community legal centre that specialises in women’s rights and justice, a campaigner for additive-free food for children, an advocate for banning swimming pools at family day care services and a Nine News reporter have all won a Consumer Protection Award for 2021.
The winners were announced today during a presentation lunch at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Women’s Legal Service WA of Perth was awarded the Richard (Dick) Fletcher Award for a local government, non-government organisation or group of individuals for their services, initiative or project. The service provides support, advice and legal assistance to disadvantaged women in the community relating to physical safety, emotional wellbeing, housing, tenancy and financial security.
Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Service Inc (Mirrabooka), The Spiers Centre (Heathridge) and the Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (Perth) were finalists in this category.
Francine Bell, who leads Additive Free Kids, has been honoured with the Rona Okely Award for an individual who has given their time, energy and experience for the betterment of others. Francine’s organisation represents more than 35,000 parents who receive product reviews and information on the ingredients contained in food products, particularly additives. She was inspired by the detrimental effects additives had on the health of her own children.
Kombe Musonda, a women’s refuge co-ordinator for Starick of Rivervale, was a finalist in this category.
Melanie Mitchell, whose almost three-year-old son Lachlan drowned in a backyard pool at a family day care centre in 2015, took out the Kidsafe WA Award for her work in lobbying for a ban on swimming pools at family day care services under the banner of ‘Lachlan’s Legacy’, and as an ambassador for Royal Life Saving Society Australia. This award focuses on the promotion of product safety and injury prevention for children. The RAC’s Project Road Smart was a finalist.
Nine News reporter Gary Adshead won the Ruby Hutchison Media Award acknowledging a journalist, program or media outlet for raising awareness and improving understanding of consumer issues. Gary, who has been a journalist for 37 years, produced a feature story on the tow truck industry in WA which highlighted the dishonest tactics used by some operators to gain business from vulnerable consumers who had been involved in a motor vehicle accident. A review into new laws to regulate the industry is currently underway.
Finalists in this category were Kim Macdonald of The West Australian for her story on a home renovator; Jerrie Demasi of Nine News for her stories on a fake psychologist; and Gareth Parker of 6PR for warning his listeners about the practices of a plumbing, electrical and gas company.
As stated by Commerce Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
“It was an honour to present the awards acknowledging the fantastic achievements of people in the community who are helping consumers and tenants overcome difficulties and promoting their rights.
“2020 was a particularly challenging year with COVID-19 affecting consumers.
“Tenants and landlords were in need of greater support to navigate the new laws introduced to put a temporary hold on evictions and rent increases, so the advisory and conciliation services of Consumer Protection, community legal centres and tenancy advocates became even more vital, as did the Government’s grant scheme offering financial help.
“I would like to congratulate the winners and finalists of the 2021 Consumer Protection Awards for their hard work and commitment to the people of Western Australia.”