Western Australian Consumer Protection Awards

Consumer Protection Awards 2017 

Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the 2017 Consumer Protection Awards and many thanks to all the nominees for their dedication to advancing consumer protection and injury prevention for children in Western Australia.

Rona Okely Award

Finalists:
Kate Davis

Karen Merrin Rona Okley Award winner 2017
Karen Merrin Rona Okley Award winner 2017, by Consumer Protection
Karen Merrin (pictured with Acting Commissioner David Hillyard) - Rona Okley Award winner 2017

Winner:
Karen Merrin

Karen commenced work in the community legal sector in 1994 following a move to the city from the north of WA.

She was employed as an Advocate at the Welfare Rights and Advocacy Service, initially for twelve months, and then as the Project Officer to set up to the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre (NSCLC) in Mirrabooka.

The Centre commenced operations in 1996 with Karen as the  inaugural Manager, a position she has maintained for many years. 

During that time the Centre has grown from the initial small Mirrabooka office to expand to three centres located in Mirrabooka, at the Edith Cowan University in Joondalup and also at Wanneroo.

The organisation has 20 employees including nine lawyers , a nurse advocate, a client advocate, two tenancy workers and one lawyer/educator all supported by  excellent and capable client service officers.  NSCLC delivers advice, advocacy and represents to over 3,800 people per year.  In addition, each year staff conduct over 100 education sessions for members of the community.

The development of a partnership with the Edith Cowan University School of Law  provides law students with the opportunity to undertake a community law course and spend time working in the Centre.   Up to 15 students each year are provided with the chance to further their career through graduate law placements at NSCLC.  A number of students are now community lawyers working in other community legal centres, private firms and across government.

Richard (Dick) Fletcher Award

Finalists:
Cancer Council Western Australia and
Cocos Keeling Islands Community Resource Centre

Justine Clarke and Megan Butt from Midland Information Debt and Legal Service - Richard Fletcher Award winner 2017
Justine Clarke and Megan Butt from Midland Information Debt and Legal Service - Richard Fletcher Award winner 2017, by Consumer Protection
Justine Clarke and Megan Butt from Midland Information Debt and Legal Service - Richard Fletcher Award winner 2017

Winner:
Midland Information Debt and Legal Service

The Midland Information Debt and Legal Advocacy Service Inc. (Midlas) is a not-for-profit community legal centre offering free financial, emergency relief, legal, tenancy and disability advocacy and information services.

The Centre has had over 25 years’ experience in developing, delivering and managing programmes for vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers within the Northeast region of Perth. There are five essential programmes offered including financial counselling, tenancy advocacy, disability advocacy, emergency relief, and a family and domestic violence legal service. Midlas has been consistently selected to provide programmes to the community and is funded through multiple State and Federal sources.

Although Midlas engages with vulnerable clients from various cultural backgrounds and life circumstances, their nomination for this award has focused on their support for clients with a disability. Working across service areas, the Centre staff aim to empower people with a disability to access fair and equitable information and to assist them to make informed choices when it comes to the purchase of goods and/or services.

Guided by their Disability Access and Inclusion Plan, the Centre promotes the rights of people with disability and provides tailored services and customised delivery in line with the United Nations Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the National Standards for Disability Services .

Kidsafe WA Award

Todd Dawson from Goodstart Early Learning Kidsafe WA Award winner 2017
Todd Dawson from Goodstart Early Learning Kidsafe WA Award winner 2017, by Consumer Protection
Todd Dawson from Goodstart Early Learning - Kidsafe WA Award winner 2017

Winner:
Goodstart Early Learning

Goodstart Early Learning (Goodstart) is Australia’s largest early learning and care providers, with 647 centres in all states and territories of Australia. They are a not-for-profit social enterprise with 13,500 staff who care for 71,500 children from 60,000 Australian families. Goodstart are reinvesting the surplus funds from their centres back into improving quality of early learning for all children and access for children who are vulnerable.

Goodstart was founded with a vision for all Australia’s children to have the best possible start in life.

Goodstart in WA has the opportunity, in fact they believe an obligation, to advocate for the 6,100 children and over 5,300 families that use their early education and care services. Safety is reflected in their organisational overview and is integral to their operations, however in addition Goodstart also see their role in being to offer an important and trusted conduit of information on child safety to their client families, regulators and the broader community.

Goodstart’s size and scale in WA comprising 52 early education and care centres, provides them with a unique opportunity to engage with 5,300 families about child safety. They provide services to children aged 6 weeks to 6 years old, the ages where children are universally recognised as being vulnerable to injury as they learn, explore and grow.

Their broad geographical spread of centre across WA means their messages can be shared far and wide for the benefit of all children and families. They see this as an inherent obligation and part of their core operating ethos as a not-for-profit organisation and good community citizen.

Ruby Hutchison Award

Finalist:
Laura Gartry, Christine Layton, Chenee Marrapodi and Nick Sas

Amy Bainbridge from ABC - Ruby Hutchison Award winner2017
Amy Bainbridge from ABC - Ruby Hutchison Award winner2017, by Consumer Protection
Amy Bainbridge from ABC (pictured with Acting Commissioner David Hillyard) - Ruby Hutchison Award winner 2017

Winner:
Amy Bainbridge

As the ABC’s consumer affairs reporter, Amy files nationally to a broad range of news and current affairs programs across the network. The Consumer Affairs round was introduced in 2013, and Amy has since grown in the role as she continues to expose wrongdoing and promote the rights of consumers.

Amy has an excellent knowledge of Australian Consumer Law and has reported in a wide range of issues affecting WA consumers, as well as for consumers in all parts of Australia. These include stories on property investment schemes, scams, financial fraud, the national Broadband network, product safety and the solar industry.

All these issues have been important to WA audiences, particularly those in rural and remote communities. Amy uses social media to connect with young people, and is now helping to produce Facebook videos with simple consumer messages.

The Consumer Protection Awards 2018

The Consumer Protection Awards provides an opportunity to reward and recognise the achievements of individuals, organisations, businesses, local governments, journalists and media outlets that have made gains in increasing awareness of consumer issues, provided support for disadvantaged consumers or contributed to injury prevention for children.

Nominations for the 2018 Awards will open in September 2017.

For specific enquiries about the ceremony:

  • phone 1300 304 054
  • email

You can find out more about previous ceremonies on the previous winners and finalists page.

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