Western Australian Consumer Protection Awards 2017 winners


It takes a lot to get me to a breakfast event these days, so when I tell you that I was thrilled to get an invitation to the 2017  Western Australian Consumer Protection Awards held at the UWA Club, maybe you get an idea of how highly I value them.

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The Consumer Protection Awards, run by the Department of Commerce, recognise individuals, local government authorities and organisations that seek out and achieve the best possible solutions and outcomes for consumers in Western Australia. Having researched the inner thoughts of West Australians for the best part of thirty years it’s a no brainer that I’d be interested in them.

The Awards highlight the efforts of every day people and organisations to be the eyes and ears within the community, to research, educate and enforce issues of importance to consumers. To help form policy and basically make sure consumers are aware of the law and their rights. Think Romance Scams, Retirement living concerns, Tenancy issues, Product recalls, children’s safety etc. All too often the stories about protecting the vulnerable in society.

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The morning always starts with a traditional welcome and this year Director General Anne Driscoll also received a gift. MC Deborah Kennedy was on board again this year. Aside from being a fantastic MC her constant presence help add to the family reunion feel.

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The winners this year included:

Karen Merrin for the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre, who has worked in the community legal sector since 1994. Having established the centre she has watched it grow to employ 20 people as it now represents over 3,800 people each year. Such an inspirational woman and worthy recipient of the Rona Okely Award. Karen’s focus on helping others was manifest on stage when she couldn’t leave without a quick reminder for us all to ‘get your bits checked’.

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The Midland Information Debt and Legal Advocacy Service, a not for profit community legal centre with over 25 years experience in the North East region of Perth. This year the award was for their work helping people with disabilities feel empowered to access information and make informed decisions.

Goodstart Early Learning, another not for profit, has 52 education and care centres in WA that help 5,300 families with the focus on child safety education for children 6 years and under.

Amy Bainbridge from the ABC for her work as the consumer affairs reporter. some of the areas she has reported on include property investment schemes, financial fraud, the NBN, product safety and the solar industry. On accepting her award Amy said …

 ‘Media wants to and is playing an important role in getting the message out there.’

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An awards ceremony can’t be an awards ceremony without food right, and neither can a blog post so here’s the money shot. The UWA Club chefs provided a great breakfast – a chai muesli started that didn’t last long enough for a photo, and a perfect sized cooked breakfast.

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The event finished right on time, as usual, which always provides an opportunity to mingle with people you’ve been trying to catch up with all year. As I watched the recipients line up for their photos I pondered …

  1. It’s the heart and soul of everyday people going out of their way to protect others that underpins these awards that keeps me coming back each year.
  2. The Awards continue to be the best awards and awards ceremony each year.

A huge thank you to the Department of Commerce for putting them on again this year, for all the work they do to help protect us all and to all those nominated. You are all a true inspiration and reminder for us all to look out for each other.

Remember if you have a concern contact the Department of Commerce, I know they’d welcome your feedback.



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