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A family in mourning over the death of a child from toppling furniture has won a Consumer Protection Award, along with a consumer advocate, a community support group and an ABC reporter.
The winners were announced by Commerce Minister John Quigley during a presentation breakfast at the University Club of WA.
Reef Kite was almost two years old when he was killed in October 2015 when a chest of drawers fell on top of him. Since then, Reef’s mother Skye Quartermaine and his aunty, Dee Quartermaine, began the Bolt it Back for Reef campaign creating community awareness and resulting in a proposed change of law in WA that prevents landlords from refusing requests to attach furniture and large appliances to walls. The campaign took out the Kidsafe WA Award which focuses on the promotion of product safety and injury prevention for children.
Melanie Mitchell, whose three year old son Lachlan drowned in a backyard pool at a family day care centre in 2015, received a special commendation in this category for her work in lobbying for a ban on pools at day care centres and as an ambassador for Royal Life Saving.
Glennys Marsdon, who operates a consumer research business The Customer’s Voice, has been honoured with the Rona Okely Award for an individual who has given their time, energy and experience for the betterment of others. Glennys conducts surveys and focus groups to ensure that businesses are catering for consumer needs. She also spent three years on Consumer Protection’s Consumer Advisory Committee reviewing numerous consumer issues.
Bev Jowle, a financial counsellor who provides community education regarding tenancy law changes, and Robert Evans, a financial counsellor with Centrecare, were finalists in this category.
The Street Law Centre Inc 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 Centre provides support and legal services for people dealing with tenancy issues, the homeless and women affected by family or domestic violence.
Tenancy WA and the Goldfields Community Legal Centre were finalists in this category.
In the media category, ABC Broome reporter Erin Parke won the Ruby Hutchison Award which acknowledges a journalist or media outlet for raising awareness and improving understanding of consumer issues. Erin produced numerous reports on the operations of cruise company Ahoy Buccaneers which was subject to consumer complaints and eventually went into liquidation.
Reporter Carla Hildebrandt of the Mandurah Mail and Pilbara-based Ngaarda Media were finalists in this category.