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New voice for consumers

In August 2017 a new research centre was launched dedicated to improving access,

In August 2017 a new research centre was launched dedicated to improving access, fairness and protections for Victorian consumers – the Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC).

CPRC has been created to advance the interests of Victorian consumers in consumer policy and regulatory debates. As the successor to the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre, CPRC will draw on more than a decade of specialist utility policy and research, and will take the same rigorous, evidence-based approach to consumer issues relating to Australian Consumer Law and Victorian consumer property.

Lauren Solomon, CEO of CPRC, noted that ‘in an increasingly global and online marketplace, ensuring the fair treatment of consumers presents new policy challenges.’ CPRC will monitor grassroots consumer issues and the wider policy context to identify research priorities, and will retain a focus on the interests and needs of disadvantaged, rural and regional consumers in considering policy development and implementation. By collaborating closely with government, industry stakeholders and community organisations, CPRC will translate its research findings into policy, programs and fair trading practices to benefit all Victorians.

The CPRC will investigate areas such as changes in the housing market, dispute resolution and breaches of consumer law, and place Victoria at the forefront of consumer research.

Policy development will focus on:

  • the development of an annual consumer index
  • exploring areas of concern around consumer property law
  • improving access and effectiveness of the dispute resolution process
  • improving information and education in consumer decision making
  • how the shift to buying online is affecting disadvantaged and vulnerable consumers.

COTA’S CEO, Ronda Held, is the Chair of the CPRC Board, so be assured the voice of older consumers will be heard!

Listen to the Consumer Policy Research Centre launch and panel discussion:

Launch of Consumer Policy Research Centre & panel discussion from CPRC on Vimeo.

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2 Responses to New voice for consumers

  1. Patricia Baan says:

    Thank you for your excellent articles. It is extremely disappointing to learn that the appointment of an Ombudsman to the Retirement Housing Industry has fallen on deaf ears. My personal situation is of living in an Independent Living Unit. The address has 17 Units, 9 of which at present are empty we number only 8 Residents at this address. Management,
    if one can call it management, is not on site and is from a Not for Profit organisation that has the audacity to add ‘Care’ to its title. There are also about 5 other properties in this area under the same management, each of which has empty Units which are not being re-let. There is no reasonable explanation for this situation, but those of us left have been assured that our Residency is secure which is a comfort, but a small one. There have been no consequences for the most appalling behaviour that has occurred in recent times from some of the 8 here and the situation has declined rapidly since my arrival 11 1/2 years ago when all Units were occupied. Taking into account the above situation, I am nevertheless grateful that I have a roof over my head, I do not owe anybody money and am in a much better situation than many that I see and hear of on a daily basis.
    Many thanks again for all the information supplied by yourselves.

  2. Hi Patricia,
    Thank you for your comment. Here the response from our policy officer.
    “Thank you for feedback. We share the disappointment and frustration being felt by residents across the retirement housing sector. COTA is collecting case studies to support our work with evidence on the need for an external dispute resolution body that is accessible, affordable and can make binding decisions. Stronger protections are needed and self regulation has not worked. We have not stopped our work on this important issue and we hope to report on some positive outcomes in the near future.”
    If you would like to provide details of your personal situation (in confidence) please email our policy officer who is working in this issue- Donna Swan dswan@cotavic.org.au
    Cheers,
    COTA Team