The seventh annual Western Australian Consumer Protection Awards were held on Friday 18 March 2011.
More than 100 guests including previous award winners, members of the media and key consumer groups attended the ceremony at the University Club of WA.
Deborah Kennedy was the MC and Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien presented each award.
For the presentation of the Rona Okely Award, Minister O’Brien was joined on stage by Mrs Okely
herself. The well-known consumer protection pioneer declared that Gosnells Community Legal Centre Solicitor, Linda Saverimutto, was the winner.
Ms Saverimutto, who helps to facilitate financial counselling, tenancy advocacy, community legal education activities and family dispute resolution services, said: “It’s a great honour to be nominated, let alone win the Rona Okely Award. Thank you to Consumer Protection for providing this opportunity to recognise those who are working in the community.”
When it was time to announce the winner of the Richard (Dick) Fletcher Award, the widow of the former Consumer Affairs Commissioner, after whom the award is named, took to the stage with the Minister.
Diana Fletcher handed over the trophy to the Western Australian Retirement Complexes Residents Association (WARCRA) represented by Patrick Wyburn.
WARCRA has more than 8000 members located in 80 retirement village complexes and provides residents with a forum to voice concerns and have questions answered.
Mr Wyburn said he was very pleased to accept the award on behalf of WARCRA.
“Thank you to our members for their strong support over the years – without them, we are powerless,” he said.
“Also, thank you to the committee who have worked hard to provide a range of services to residents and prospective residents. There is always a lot of preparation and organisation that goes into our activities, which are always over-subscribed.”
The third and final award of the day was the Kidsafe WA Award. It went to the City of Stirling’s Road Safety Group for its Child Car Restraint (CCR) program.
This scheme included free CCR fitting and checkingservices together with a drop-off recycling point for old or second-hand CCRs.
City of Stirling’s Deputy Mayor, Giovanni Italiano, accepted the honour and said: “I am proud that the City of Stirling’s efforts in promoting child safety in the community have been recognised. To the City of Stirling staff who have been involved, thank you for all of your hard work and congratulations.
“The services of the CCR program have been well received by rate payers. The City of Stirling is setting an example and leads the way for child safety in the community – other local government departments should follow our example.”
It was Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien’s first time at the Consumer Protection Awards. He took over the Commerce portfolio late last year.
The Minister described the awards as a great way to highlight the work being done by consumer advocates across the State.
“The efforts to protect consumers, made by both this year’s winners and finalists are inspirational and highly commendable,” he said.
“We hope that the recognition received through the Western Australian Consumer Protection Awards goes some way toward marking those outstanding contributions and thanking all of the individuals involved.”
Both the Minister and the Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Anne Driscoll, acknowledged the very important role that the WA media play in educating consumers about their rights.
This acknowledgement was well-received by the media representatives including ABC Mornings producers, Graham Mabury from 6PR, Sue Myc from Twin Cities FM, David Cohen from Post Newspapers and John Logan from the Community Newspaper Group. The awards were also
covered by Chanel 44.
Consumer Protection’s Journalist tweeted throughout the ceremony and several other organisations joined in the Twitter conversation, with encouragement for nominees and other positive comments.
Planning is already underway for next year. To find out how to nominate for the 2012 WA Consumer Protection Awards and see the full list of 2011 nominees and winners, log on to The Consumer Protection Website.