The State Government has given its support to a nationwide effort to prioritise consumer awareness and rights for indigenous consumers with the South Australian launch of the National Indigenous Consumer Strategy (NICS) Action Plan for 2014-16.
Business Services and Consumers Minister Gail Gago said the plan will ensure that Australia’s performance in Indigenous consumer affairs is continually improved and that beneficial outcomes for Indigenous consumers are achieved.
“Australian consumer protection agencies are committed to building awareness, knowledge and confidence for Indigenous people to exercise their consumer rights.
“South Australia’s Indigenous communities are scattered across the state, often in geographically isolated places, which can make them a lot more vulnerable and often targeted by unscrupulous traders.
“We want to ensure that Indigenous people are empowered when it comes to their consumer rights,” Ms Gago said.
The Action Plan for 2014-16 identifies four national priorities:
1. Trading practices - unsolicited sales, misleading promotional activities and book-up
2. Housing - tenancy rights and responsibilities
3. Consumer awareness - consumer rights, financial literacy, knowledge of consumer protection services and complaint processes
4. Contracts - understanding terms and conditions, and the implications of entering into a contract.
“The priority areas and actions identified in the Action Plan recognise that consumer agencies need to continually monitor and adapt the way they deliver their services to Indigenous people.
“South Australia’s Consumer and Business Services (CBS) will be conducting a number of activities over the next two years to support each of the four priority areas.
“This will involve visits to the APY Lands, hosting information stalls at events for Indigenous consumers and working with community organisations to deliver education programs.
“CBS will work closely with Indigenous communities and service providers to implement consumer protection programs to achieve the Action Plan objectives,” Ms Gago said.
This is the third NICS Action Plan developed by the national, State and Territory consumer protection agencies since the first plan was released in 2003.